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Police Shooting That Killed 15-Year-Old Ruled 'Unwarranted'

By Heather Cherone | August 11, 2017 12:27pm | Updated on August 15, 2017 11:43am
 It will now be up to Supt. Eddie Johnson and the Police Board to decide whether to fire the officers involved in Dakota Bright's death.
It will now be up to Supt. Eddie Johnson and the Police Board to decide whether to fire the officers involved in Dakota Bright's death.
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PARK MANOR — The 2012 shooting of a 15-year-old boy was "unprovoked and unwarranted," the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct ruled.

Dakota Bright died after being shot by a Chicago police officer on Nov. 8, 2012, near 67th Street and Indiana Avenue in Park Manor.

Police were investigating a reported a burglary when they saw the teen walking through an alley, officers told the Independent Police Review Authority.

The officer who shot Dakota told investigators he saw the teen holding a black handgun that he tried to put in his waistband before running from officers, according to the agency's report.

The officers gave chase and told investigators that he failed to follow orders to stop and drop the gun, according to the report, according to the agency's report.

The officer who fired the fatal shot said he did so after Dakota turned toward police and reached for the gun in his waistband, according to the agency's report.

Other officers at the scene of the shooting said they saw the teen holding a weapon to his side while running, according to the agency's report.

A weapon was recovered near, but not on Dakota's body, making the officer's story unlikely to be true, according to the agency's report.

Dakota was shot in the back of the head, according to the agency's report.

The agency's report suggests that investigators believed the officers at the scene of the shooting may have concocted a story to cover up an unjustifiable shooting.

"These officers were not only colleagues who frequently worked together, they were friends that socialized together," according to the agency's report. "They had ample opportunity to discuss the events among themselves at the scene of the incident as well as on at least three other occasions. Even if there was no collusion regarding how the officers would ultimately describe the events in question, these multiple discussions could easily have influenced each officer’s recollection of what happened."

None of the officers were named in the agency's report, which also noted that Dakota posted several pictures of himself with guns on his Facebook page.

In June 2016, the City Council paid $925,000 to settle the lawsuit brought by Dakota's family. The teen was a freshman at Robeson High School when he was killed.

It will be up to Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson to determine whether or not to recommend discipline any of the officers involved. His decision must be affirmed by the Chicago Police Board.

Earlier this month, the agency reopened its investigation into a 2014 police shooting that killed a 19-year-old man in Lawndale that prompted protests and a federal lawsuit.

The Independent Police Review Authority will be replaced next month by a new agency — the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has promised the new agency will work faster and more thoroughly while investigating allegations of excessive force and misconduct by police officers.