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Videos show Chicago police fired nearly 100 shots over 41 seconds during fatal traffic stop

CHICAGO (AP) — Plainclothes Chicago police officers fired nearly 100 shots in 41 seconds during a traffic stop that left one officer dead and one officer injured, according to graphic video footage released Tuesday by a watchdog agency of the police.

Five officers from a tactical unit in an unmarked police vehicle surrounded an SUV last month driven by Dexter Reed, allegedly for not wearing a seat belt. The video shows the 26-year-old black man briefly rolling down a window, then raising it and refusing to exit the vehicle as other officers arrived, shouted orders and drew their weapons.

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said preliminary evidence showed Reed fired first, wounding a police officer in the Humboldt Park neighborhood on the city’s West Side. Then, four police officers returned fire, firing 96 rounds.

The gunfire continued even after “Reed exited his vehicle and fell to the ground,” COPA said in releasing body-worn camera footage, 911 calls and police reports.

The released videos offer a more comprehensive perspective than what police initially offered last month.

Police Commissioner Larry Snelling previously said the March 21 shooting began with a traffic stop and described it as an “exchange of gunfire.”

Family members have questioned authorities’ account of the shooting, seeking answers about why Reed was arrested. Andrew M. Stroth, the family’s attorney, said Reed’s mother, sister, uncle and father saw the video Tuesday and were emotionally distraught. He said they remembered the young man as a talented high school basketball player with ambitions to become a sports broadcaster.

“I really can’t explain the pain that me and my family are going through, but I just hope that there are people who understand that he was a son, he was a brother, he was an uncle, he had loved ones,” Reed’s sister, Porscha Banks, told reporters. “He was a very important person.”

Banks and other members of his family joined a protest Tuesday evening outside the 11th District police station, where demonstrators demanded the firing of the officers who shot Reed. One person was hospitalized after protesters clashed with a heckler, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Stroth called it an unconstitutional police stop with plainclothes officers who did not announce they were police officers. He said the family wanted a quick investigation and that the department is better compliant with a reform plan supervised by the courts.

“Nothing will bring Dexter back, but efforts should certainly be made to ensure this doesn’t happen to another family,” he said.

On Tuesday, police spokesman Thomas Ahern said the department was cooperating with the investigation.

“We cannot make a decision on this shooting until all the facts are known and this investigation is complete,” he said.

The videos show several points of view, including that of the police officer who was shot. But there are no clear images of Reed’s shooting. A firearm was later recovered from the vehicle.

The tactical unit arrives at the scene with several officers shouting crude orders for Reed to first roll down the window and then open the door.

Then gunshots ring out. A man calling 911 to report the shooting described it as “a shooting like they were fighting the Vietnam War.”

Reed exits the vehicle and collapses to the ground, ending up face down with his head near the passenger’s rear wheel and wearing only one shoe. Blood flows into a nearby gutter. Images from the car show dozens of bullet holes. The other shoe is right outside the driver’s door.

” Not moving ! Not moving ! » the officers shout at Reed, raising their bloody hands in search of a weapon but finding none. They handcuff him while he remains face down and motionless.

“I don’t know where the gun is,” one officer said. They then use a flashlight to examine the vehicle and locate the weapon in the passenger seat.

“He started shooting at us,” another officer said.

Then, other police officers and an ambulance arrive on scene.

“We were all shooting,” an officer repeats several times.

Mayor Brandon Johnson promised a full investigation, saying Tuesday’s release was part of an effort to be more transparent.

“Attempts to conceal or delay information are mistakes of the past,” he said during a news conference with COPA and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. “As a mayor and father raising a family, including two black boys on the West Side of Chicago, I am personally devastated to see another young black man lose his life during an interaction with police.”

He said the city does not tolerate shootings of police officers and noted that the officer, who is also black, suffered a wrist injury but could have fared much worse. If the bullet had traveled a few inches in another direction, Johnson said he would be here “talking about the death of another black man.”

The officers were placed on 30-day administrative leave in connection with investigations by COPA and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office.

State Attorney Kim Foxx said her office would determine whether the officers’ use of force was justified or required criminal prosecution.

“Let me assure you that our quest for justice will be relentless, guided by the facts, grounded in evidence and the law,” she said.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office classified Reed’s death as a homicide and reported that he died of “multiple” gunshot wounds.

COPA was created in 2016 after the city was forced to release dashcam video of then-officer Jason Van Dyke shooting a 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, contradicting the police’s account that the teenager had lunged at police with a knife. His responsibilities include investigating police shootings.

The police department has been under a consent decree since 2019, issued after the U.S. Department of Justice uncovered a long history of racial bias and excessive use of force following McDonald’s death.

The independent monitoring team that oversees the department’s compliance has repeatedly found it falling behind specific deadlines and goals and last year asked Snelling, as the new superintendent, to “raise the challenges that have disproportionately delayed progress.”


Associated Press writer Corey Williams contributed to this report from Detroit.

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