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City Set To Pay Family Of Unarmed Teen Shot By Police $3M

By Heather Cherone | December 9, 2016 1:54pm | Updated on December 12, 2016 8:31am

Watch the videos here. Viewer discretion advised.

In the second video, the shooting happens at the 17-second mark under the red awning.

DOWNTOWN — The city should pay the family of a teen shot to death by police while running away $3 million, city attorneys recommended Friday.

In June, city officials settled the lawsuit filed by the family of Cedrick Chatman, who was shot by police while running away from officers in South Shore. Video of the incident was released in January 2015 after a three-year struggle by the family to have it released.


Cedrick was in a stolen car with two others on January 7, 2013 when officers Lou Touth and Kevin Fry pulled the car over near 75th Street and Jeffrey Avenue.

What happened during the next few seconds fueled a legal debate that stretched nearly three years.

According to a police statement released a day after the shooting, Cedrick grabbed something from the car before jumping out and running off. The officers chased the teen, who turned toward them and pointed a "black object" he was holding, according to the statement.

Fry raised his gun and shot Cedrick four times. Afterward, an officer flipped Cedrick onto his stomach, handcuffed him and pressed his boot into the teen's back.

The teen died hours later.

The incident was caught by a security camera as well as a police pod camera.

In one angle, the camera quickly jerks from one side of the intersection to the other, since it is an automated blue light camera, making it difficult to see exactly when Cedrick was hit. The video appears to show an officer firing while the teen is still running.

In a second angle, a stationary video shot from nearby South Shore High School, the teen also appears to be running away as he is shot.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel declined to comment.

Brian Coffman, the attorney for the Chatman family, said Friday he could not comment until the settlement was approved by the City Council, which could come as early as Dec. 14.

However, when city officials settled the lawsuit in June, Coffman said in a statement that the end of the court fight would bring the teen's family closure.

"It is the Chatman family's wish that what has happened to their young son will serve as a catalyst for change, not only in Chicago but in all of the systems around the country at every government level that are in desperate need of change."

The city agreed to release the video of the incident in the midst of the outcry over the death of 16-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was also shot to death by a Chicago police officer. The day the video of Cedrick's death was released, Coffman said the recording showed the officers acting recklessly.

Coffman said the officers didn't radio in about the foot chase and never told dispatch that they thought Cedrick had a weapon. Cedrick — who was unarmed — had grabbed a black iPhone box from the car, an investigation found.

"At no time did these officers communicate with each other," Coffman told reporters after the court's ruling. "They immediately encountered Chatman's vehicle; guns were out."

Neither officer was charged with criminal wrongdoing.

The wrongful death lawsuit, filed in June 2013 on the Chatman family's behalf, was the fifth civil rights lawsuit since 2006 in which Fry had been named as a defendant, according to court records. The other four lawsuits, alleging violations including excessive force, false arrest and illegal searches, all ended in settlements.

According to the nonprofit Invisible Institute, which tracks police misconduct, Fry has been the target of at least 30 complaints throughout his career. All were marked as "unsubstantiated." He has faced no discipline, according to the institute's records.

The Independent Police Review Authority — which is being replaced as part of reforms sparked by the release of the video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke fire 16 shots at Laquan McDonald — concluded that Fry's actions were justified.

However, two months before that, investigator Lorenzo Davis was fired by the authority for what he claimed was a refusal to change his findings in six investigations of police shootings. Cedrick's case was one of them.


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