Apr 9, 2024 - News

City promises thorough investigations into fatal police shooting of Dexter Reed

Illustration of a star-shaped spotlight on a police hat.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Local officials are promising thorough investigations after Tuesday's video release of a West Side shooting that left 26-year-old Dexter Reed dead at the hands of Chicago police last month.

The big picture: The mayor's office, COPA and the Cook County state's attorney Kim Foxx all announced investigations into the incident Tuesday.

Why it matters: In a city that has been plagued by police shooting scandals, Mayor Brandon Johnson is trying to demonstrate a new era of city accountability, promising that "attempts to withhold or delay information are mistakes of the past."

What we know: On March 21, police pulled Reed over for not wearing a seatbelt, COPA Chief Andrea Kersten said Tuesday. Several officers surrounded the car, drew guns and issued verbal commands to open the doors, police body camera videos show.

  • Kersten revealed that preliminary evidence from the videos suggests Reed shot first and hit an officer.
  • She said police shot back 96 times even after Reed exited his van and was on the ground.
  • Reed was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital that day, and one officer is recovering from a wound on his wrist.

What they're saying: "The people of Chicago deserve to have awareness and full knowledge of police shootings," Johnson said at a Tuesday press conference.

  • "Without trust, we will never be safe in our communities."

"Shooting a police officer can never be condoned," he added. "I will never stand for that. And neither will the City of Chicago."

The other side: At a press conference yesterday, Reed's uncle, Roosevelt Banks, demanded accountability, saying the police's actions would have terrified him, per the Sun Times.

  • "I wouldn't know how to act other than to protect myself," Banks said.
  • The family is pushing for criminal charges to be filed against the officers.
  • They viewed the videos on Monday with their attorney.

Flashback: The city's response is much different from what happened in 2014, when Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration withheld a video of the police murder of Laquan McDonald from the public for a year.

  • It took a judge's order to release it, and what followed were massive protests, a police chief's firing, and a murder conviction for the officer.

What's next: COPA and Foxx say they will continue to investigate the use of force in the incident and the propriety of the traffic stop that initiated it.

  • Foxx says her office is at just the "beginning stages" of its review and asks for the public's "patience and trust."

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