Surveillance video in connection with a Chicago police officer's fatally shooting 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman was released today by attorneys for the teen's family.
A federal judge ordered the release of footage showing the 2013 shooting today after the city withdrew its objection to its being made public.
Chicago police officer Kevin Fry fatally shot Chatman Jan. 7, 2013, in broad daylight during a foot chase, according to court records.
Chatman’s family had fought for the video to be released as part of a wrongful death lawsuit they filed over the shooting against the city, Fry and Chicago police officer Lou Toth, who pursued Chatman along with Fry during the foot chase.
Family members have argued the video will counter the city and police’s narrative that the 17-year-old was a danger to police.
The officer who killed Fry said he opened fire because Chatman turned toward him and Toth with a "dark object in his right hand," Fry and Toth’s attorney Andrew Hale said in an email to The Associated Press.
He feared for his life, he said in court documents.
Investigators later discovered that the "dark object" was an iPhone box.
Attorneys for Chatman's family claimed today before releasing the video that images of the foot chase and shooting will show Chatman never turned toward the officers and that the 17-year-old posed no threat to them.
Police declined to comment but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city has followed a decades-long policy of not releasing materials related to investigations.
“That policy for the city has always existed, which is you don’t do anything to hamper an investigation," he said at an afternoon news conference. "We’re in the middle of transition to a different policy as it relates to transparency and letting that material out, and the decision there [in the Chatman case] is exactly an example of that.”
City attorneys, until Wednesday, had fought to keep surveillance footage under seal on the grounds that the release could taint any jury pool if the pending civil case goes to trial, according to court records.
City lawyers explained the city was dropping its opposition to the video's release in an effort to be more transparent while it waits for a recently created special task force to review policies regarding the release of videos showing disputed police shootings, according to documents filed in court Wednesday.
The Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that investigates police shootings, cleared Fry -- the officer who shot Chatman -- of any wrongdoing. He was not criminally charged in connection to the shooting.
The release of the video showing Chatman being fatally shot by a police officer follows the Nov. 24 release of police dash-cam video from 2014 showing white officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty.
McDonald and Chatman's deaths have spurred numerous protests in the city, including many organized by Black Lives Matter activists fighting for reform and the end of what they see as institutionalized racism in Chicago's police department and city government.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.