Lawyer: Suit settled in Chicago teen's fatal police shooting

AP News
Posted: Jun 10, 2016 7:22 PM

CHICAGO (AP) — The city of Chicago has settled a federal wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of an unarmed black teenager whose fatal shooting in 2013 by a white police officer was caught on video, the family's lawyer announced Friday.

Attorney Brian Coffman said the two sides followed the advice of U.S. District Judge Brian Gettleman and resolved the issues involving the death of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman. Coffman didn't release details of the settlement because it must be approved by the Chicago City Council. However, he said Chatman's mother is looking forward to finally getting "some closure and moving on." The case was scheduled for trial later this month.

"This will be another expensive lesson for the city," Coffman said. "If they don't change how they do things, well, there's a bigger societal issue that needs to be discussed."

Chatman had been suspected in a carjacking.

Chicago Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey declined to comment.

The settlement is the latest the city of Chicago has entered in relation to police misconduct cases, resulting in the payout of more than $500 million in the last decade.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez chose not to file charges against officers Kevin Fry and Lou Toth after reviewing an investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority. Lorenzo Davis, a former investigator for IPRA who was assigned to the case, has said he was dismissed for refusing to clear the officers in the case. He contended Chatman's fatal shooting was murder.

Like the video of the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, city lawyers fought to keep video of Chatman's shooting under wraps.

The video released in January was taken by several surveillance cameras and from various angles. It captured at least parts of the incident in a South Shore neighborhood during daylight hours.

A blue-light police camera shows Chatman bolt out of a car and across a street with Toth on his heels. Chatman scoots through parked cars and toward an intersection. Less than 10 seconds pass from the time Chatman jumped out of the car to the fatal shots.

Fry can be seen trailing behind Toth, aiming his gun at Chatman from a crosswalk and firing as the teen began rounding the corner in front of a bodega. One video from a camera that pans back and forth is grainy and it doesn't show Chatman fall; another is clearer and shows Chatman fall, but it is taken from farther away and doesn't show definitively if Chatman ever turned.

Toth was originally named in the lawsuit, which claimed he could have prevented Fry from shooting the teen. Gettleman removed Toth from the lawsuit, citing video showing the officer didn't fire a shot and couldn't have stopped his partner from firing the fatal shots.