Police Say Teen Committed Suicide During Chase, but Family Disputes Report - NBC Chicago

Police Say Teen Committed Suicide During Chase, but Family Disputes Report

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Questions Raised After Teen Dies During Police Chase

    Chicago police and the Cook County Medical Examiner both say that a teen shot and killed himself during a foot pursuit, but the boy's family doesn't believe the official narrative. NBC 5's Lexi Sutter reports. 

    (Published Monday, Aug. 20, 2018)

    Police reports and the Cook County Medical Examiner both ruled the death of teen Steven Rosenthal a suicide, but family members and residents aren’t convinced and are demanding answers after Friday’s incident.

    In that incident, police say that Rosenthal shot himself in the head during a pursuit, which started after police questioned him for allegedly possessing a firearm, and later died from his injuries.

    The autopsy, the results of which were released Saturday, performed by the medical examiner confirmed that report, but family members say that eyewitnesses at the scene say police opened fire and killed Rosenthal.

    On Sunday, residents marched on the hospital where they say Rosenthal’s body is being kept, demanding that it be released to his family. They also marched to police headquarters, and before dispersing said they would return every day until the department answers questions about the incident.

    In response to calls for body camera footage and other evidence to be publicly released, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says that camera evidence and ballistics evidence indicate that no officer fired their gun during the incident.

    “The independent office of the Cook County Medical Examiner ruled this tragic death a suicide based on autopsy and physical evidence,” he said. “Suicide is a difficult and painful tragedy to process for anyone, and our deepest condolences go out to his entire family.”

    The Chicago Office of Police Accountability also issued a statement, saying that they will release video within 60 days, as per department policy.

    “There is body-worn footage, however, based on the city’s transparency policy, we will release video within 60 days, or at the earliest point that it does not jeopardize the integrity of our investigation,” COPA said.

    In the wake of the incident, the family is saying that Rosenthal was a good student who played sports, and that he never would have committed suicide. They are calling for any video of the incident to be released, and for police to provide evidence that Rosenthal was carrying a gun.

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