The family of an unarmed 13-year-old boy who was shot and seriously wounded by a Chicago police officer in May has publicly-released videos they received from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
The videos, which were sent to the family by COPA earlier this month, were not released publicly because of rules barring the release of footage of incidents involving individuals under the age of 18.
According to attorney Andrew Stroth, who is representing the family, the release is part of a push for increased "transparency" in the investigation.
"It's our perspective that there needs to be a new day of transparency and accountability, and how can you build trust in communities of color if you're not sharing the evidence of what in fact happened," he said.
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The family obtained the videos through a Freedom of Information Act request, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said in an earlier statement, and they said they were willing to discuss possible changes to state laws regarding the release of material in cases involving minors.
“We see this as an opportunity to begin the conversation regarding amendments to this law to allow for increased transparency,” said COPA chief administrator, Andrea Kersten. “We are open to discussions with the General Assembly and our city elected officials to give families of juveniles a voice when determining what materials may be released publicly by COPA.”
The teen's family has filed a federal lawsuit against Chicago police in connection with the May 2022 incident.
In the body camera footage, officers are seen chasing a teen boy identified as "A.G." in court documents related to the lawsuit.
On one body camera, viewers can hear the shots being fired, but security footage from a nearby gas station appears to have captured the shooting in greater detail.
The family alleges that the officers who fired shots acted in an unconstitutional manner.
"Now that young boy is paralyzed because of the actions of that officer," Stroth said.
Attorneys for the boy’s mother, Cierra Corbitt, have said she wants the videos released to the public.
The lawsuit alleges that the boy had his hands up when he was shot.
The boy jumped out a car that police had been chasing with squad cars and a helicopter after an alleged carjacking in Oak Park.
An officer chased after the teen and shot him in the back, causing injuries to the teen’s spinal cord and internal wounds that have left the boy “permanently and catastrophically” injured, the lawsuit states.
Stroth says that the boy spent several weeks at Chicago's Shirley Ryan Ability Lab going through rehab, and he is now back at home.
“CPD’s shooting was wholly unjustified as A.G. was running away from the shooter, he was unarmed, and he posed no threat of harm to the officer who shot him or anyone in the vicinity,” the lawsuit states. “Multiple witnesses at the scene reported that A.G. was complying with the officers’ directive for him to put his hands up — and indeed his hands were up — when John Doe Officer shot him.”
Chicago Police Supt. David Brown has said the boy turned toward police when he was shot but would not comment on whether his hands were raised.
No weapon was found at the scene, and COPA's investigation into the incident continues.