A civilian police watchdog group released body camera video of an incident last month in which Chicago law enforcement officers are seen unleashing dozens of shots at a wanted and allegedly armed suspect barricaded in an SUV in the middle of a residential neighborhood.
The Civilian Police Accountability Board in Chicago made public multiple body-worn and dashboard camera videos, as well as police dispatch recordings of the wild July 9 incident that left 34-year-old Klevontaye White dead.
The videos were released as part of an investigation COPA is conducting to determine if the deadly force used in the incident was warranted.
The episode unfolded in the West Garfield Park neighborhood on the city’s West Side as officers from the Chicago Police Department’s Special Violent Fugitive Task Force, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office attempted to take White into custody.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference following the shooting that White was wanted on 15 counts of criminal sexual assault with a firearm.
White was supposed to be wearing an electronic monitoring device, but law enforcement sources told Chicago ABC station WLS the suspect had cut the tracking device off.
Officers cornered White around 9:42 a.m. on South Kilpatrick Avenue, but he refused when they ordered him to get out of his 2001 black Jeep Cherokee with his hands up.
“As the officers attempted to implement a plan to break the rear window of the vehicle, they heard a single gunshot, which they believed came from the vehicle,” COPA said in a statement released Tuesday with the videos.
The videos captured officers yelling, “He’s got a gun!” and one screaming, “He’s aiming the gun, dude!”
Several officers repeatedly ordered White to put down the gun, as other officers took cover behind ballistic shields and emergency vehicles.
“We’re going to do two shields wide,” one officer holding a metal bar said to two colleagues, according to the video, devising an impromptu plan to approach White’s vehicle. “We’re going to walk up to the back of the window and I’m gonna smash it out so we can get a visual on him.”
But as the officer stepped toward the SUV that had dark tinted windows, a single shot rang out setting off a barrage of gunfire from the law enforcement officers, some of whom are seen reloading during the incident.
“Shots fired at police! Shots fired at police!” several officers yelled into their radios, according to the videos.
Officers could be seen in the footage retreating and ducking for cover.
“Stop moving! Stop moving!” an officer yelled at White, who was apparently in the rear seat of the vehicle.
“He moving!” another officer is heard yelling in one of the videos, followed by a second volley of gunfire.
Three Chicago police officers and one U.S. marshal fired multiple times at the vehicle, according to COPA.
As other officers rushed toward the bullet-riddled vehicle while the gunfire was still going on, their colleagues could be heard in the videos yelling at each other to “Watch your crossfire. Watch your f—— crossfire.”
At one point, two officers with their guns drawn and behind one ballistic shield crossed in front of other officers with their guns drawn and pointed at White’s SUV.
“Don’t get in front of each other,” one officer is heard yelling in the footage. “What the f— are you doing?”
After several chaotic moments, an officer is heard yelling, “Cease fire! Cease fire!”
Officers are then seen pulling the mortally wounded White from the vehicle and radioing for an ambulance. White was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center in Chicago where he was pronounced dead from a gunshot wound to the head, according to paperwork also released by COPA.
No police officers or innocent bystanders were injured in the incident.
The three two Chicago police officers and the U.S. marshal who fired their weapons in the incident have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, authorities said.
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