Police May Release Video of Teen’s Death After Family Disputes it Was Suicide

Police reports and the Cook County Medical Examiner both ruled Steven Rosenthal's death a suicide

Police may release video showing what happened when a Chicago teen died over the weekend after family members disputed authorities' claims that the death was a suicide. 

"Any time you have a juvenile involved in releasing video it’s different," Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said Monday, one day after protesters marched to question the teen's shooting death. 

Police reports and the Cook County Medical Examiner both ruled Steven Rosenthal's death a suicide, but family members and residents aren’t convinced.

In the 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.

Autopsy results released Saturday confirmed that report, but family members said 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.

Johnson said the footage would be released "when feasibly and lawfully we're able to," noting that the department plans to show the family first. 

"That was a tragic incident," he said. "Any time you have a loss of life in the city, especially under circumstances like that, it’s difficult. I understand their anguish, that’s not easy. Losing a loved one under any circumstances is difficult."

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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