In 2011, police said Parice Mercer was involved in a shooting on Chicago’s South Side and was fatally shot by officers as he pointed a weapon at them, but new evidence released Friday has brought new questions to the case.
“It’s very upsetting,” said Mercer’s mother’s Wanda Edwards. “What I want to know is why did Chicago police hide evidence that could have been important to the case?”
Police said the incident began with a shooting in the 9100 block of South Ashland Avenue. It was there officers allege Mercer pointed a weapon at them before he was fatally shot in the back.
Witnesses said the shooters were a group of four men with long hair wearing white T-shirts. Mercer had short hair.
Men matching the witness descriptions were recorded in the area of the shooting minutes earlier by a passing CTA bus. That footage was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by the victim’s attorney.
“The problem is not only did they wrongly shoot Parice Mercer, but then they spent a couple of years defaming Parice Mercer, claiming he committed a shooting he didn’t do and the city conspired with them to hide what really happened,” said Attorney Branden Shiller.
Officers involved in the shooting were acquitted in a jury trial for the federal civil rights case a little more than a year ago. There, Mercer’s attorneys said the city of Chicago claimed the video did not exist.
The city denies allegations that the video was withheld from evidence, however, and says it was included in the materials it received from the Independent Police Review Authority, which found allegations of wrongdoing were not substantiated.
“In our experience, in this case and in others, it is a clear and widespread practice that the city of Chicago, through its police department, withholds, destroys and hides unfavorable evidence in civil rights case,” said attorney Jared Kosoglad.
Edwards said she has been trying to clear her son’s name since the day he lost his life that fateful July.
“They tried to defame his name, claiming he was a certain kind of person that he really wasn’t,” she said. “He was a sweet kid to me.”
Edwards said she is now weighing her legal options in the case.