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A federal judge on Thursday ordered the release of a new video showing a white Chicago police officer fatally shooting Cedrick Chatman, a 17-year-old car theft suspect, in 2013.
The ruling was made the day after city lawyers dropped their opposition to the more than two-year-old video's release.
Chatman was killed while running away from two Chicago police officers in January 2013.
He was reportedly with two other individuals during a cellphone deal that turned violent on Jan. 7, 2013. According to court records, Chatman stole a Dodge Charger and was eventually boxed in by police near the intersection of East 75th Street and South Jeffrey.
When Chatman emerged from the vehicle, one of the officers reported seeing him reach for an object before running away, according to court records. The officers’ deposition revealed Chatman turned his body while running. Fearing for his partner's life, one of the officers fired his weapon and shot Chatman.
No weapon was ever recovered from the scene and investigators later found an iPhone 5 case near Chatman's body, according to court records.
Cameras mounted on a traffic signal, at South Shore High School and at a nearby apartment building recorded different angles of the incident.
City officials fought for more than year to keep the footage sealed, but now say the city is working to be more transparent.
A U.S. magistrate judge last year ordered the surveillance footage of Chatman's shooting death remain subject to a protective order, stating the video was "inflammatory" and could "taint the jury pool." But Federal judge Robert W. Gettleman said in court Thursday he was "disturbed" by how the city handled the situation and ruled the risk of tainting a jury pool with the video's release is minimal because of the publicity surrounding the shooting.
Attorneys for Chatman's family said they were pleased with the judge's ruling but questioned the timing of the video's release.
"The city of Chicago has had not only the last month and a half, they’ve had over 2 1/2 years to be transparent in this case and surely you are going to see what actually happened on Jan. 7, 2013," said Attorney Brian Coffman.
Coffman said the video shows Chatman running from the police, not carrying a gun or making any movements toward officers that would have made them fear for their lives.
"You’re going to see a young kid running away from police in broad daylight and he is shot and killed," Coffman said.
Chatman's mother, Linda, has said her son did not deserve what happened. Coffman said the videos' release could help promote change.
"Some people may need to lose their jobs and that’s the unfortunate part of it, but we cannot keep going on the same path we are right now because this does not work for anybody," Coffman said.
The two men who were with Chatman — Martel Odum and Akeem Clarke — were initially charged with his murder, but the charges were dropped. The men pleaded guilty to robbery and unlawful vehicular invasion.
Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) has found the shooting to be justified, but former IPRA supervisor Lorenzo Davis, who investigated the case, said Officer Kevin Fry, named in the wrongful death lawsuit, had no reason to believe his life was in danger before he fired his weapon.
In response to the wrongful death lawsuit, the city previously denied there was any cover up.