Seatbelt violation ends with a black man dead on a Chicago street

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CHICAGO — For Sheila Banks, the late afternoon of March 21 began easy, with her son Dexter Reed heading out to enjoy his new SUV.
In releasing footage of the shooting Tuesday, the police accountability board said Reed “appears” to have fired first.
They also say the traffic stop was unconstitutional and not the first time that Chicago cops have falsely claimed seatbelt violations as the impetus for confrontational pullovers of drivers.
Last but certainly not least, they alleged Tuesday that Reed was killed while unarmed and trying to surrender.
In the newly released bodycam footage, Reed is seen driving a white SUV with heavily-tinted windows and dents along its side.
Reed began firing, officials said, hitting one of the officers, although it’s unclear from the bodycam footage who fired first.
Officers fired on Reed 96 times in 41 seconds, according to the accountability board.
“I’m hurt, I’m sick, I feel like I’ve been shot up, I’m burning up inside,” Banks said.

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CHICAGO — Sheila Banks had an easy start to the late afternoon of March 21 when her son Dexter Reed left to enjoy his brand-new SUV. On Tuesday, she remembered saying, “Momma, I’m going out for a ride.”.

Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), the city’s police watchdog organization, said that it concluded with Chicago police officers shooting 26-year-old Reed to death on a residential corner in less than a minute.

In light of growing controversy in recent weeks regarding the death and the use of lethal force by police, COPA has questioned the officers’ claim that they pulled Reed over for failing to wear a seatbelt.

The police accountability board stated that Reed “appears” to have fired first when they released video of the shooting on Tuesday. However, the family’s attorneys stated that further inquiry is necessary. Additionally, they assert that the traffic stop was unconstitutional and that this is not the first instance in which Chicago police have falsely accused drivers of not wearing seatbelts in order to justify aggressive pullovers.

Not to mention, they said on Tuesday that Reed was shot and killed while attempting to surrender without a weapon.

“At the conclusion of the video, you witness an officer, dressed in military uniform, killing Dexter as he lay by his car, defenseless and unarmed,” stated Andrew M. Stroth, a well-known local civil rights lawyer who is defending Reed’s family.

State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Mayor Brandon Johnson, among other city officials, expressed regret over Reed’s passing but did not declare that the officers should be charged.

This is the most recent shooting in a city where there has long been controversy over the deaths of men of color by police.

In forty-one seconds, 96 shots were fired.

The shooting occurred on March 21st in the evening, following Reed’s traffic stop by five unmarked police officers in an unmarked vehicle on a West Side residential corner in Chicago.

Reed can be seen operating a white SUV with heavily tinted windows and side dents in the recently made public bodycam footage. He is instructed to roll down the window by a female officer. He accomplishes this. Though most of his expression is hidden by a black ski mask, his eyes seem wide.

However, Reed refuses to open his doors and roll down other windows, so things get worse.

The bodycam footage doesn’t seem to show who fired first, but officials claim that Reed started firing and hit one of the officers.

The accountability board claims that in 41 seconds, officers fired 96 shots at Reed.

A policeman can be seen repeatedly emptying his pistol on Reed in bodycam video. It is not evident whether the 26-year-old has his hands up.

After Reed falls and remains still, the officer keeps shooting, as seen on the bodycam footage. An officer can be heard in the video yelling that Reed’s gun is still in the vehicle.

The reason Reed had a gun on him is unknown. Cook County court records state that he was awaiting trial in a gun case.

According to officials, an officer who was shot in the arm during the shootout was not seriously hurt.

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Chicago Police Watchdog expresses “grave concerns.”.

The accountability board’s Andrea Kersten questioned the officers’ veracity and suitability for firing on Reed in a letter sent last week. While the board conducts its investigation, she suggested that the officers be deprived of their police authority.

The board is “uncertain” how the officers could have seen the undone seat belt, given the tinted windows of Reed’s car and its position relative to the unmarked police vehicle, Kersten wrote to Chicago’s top cop in a letter USA TODAY obtained via freedom of information request.

The validity of the traffic stop that resulted in the officers’ encounter is seriously called into question by this evidence, according to Kersten.

She added that there are “serious questions about the proportionality of their use of deadly force” in relation to the officers’ response to Reed’s alleged gunshots.

“All four officers fired their weapons at Reed after he got out of his car and was unarmed, according to the evidence recovered after this incident,” Kersten wrote.

She accuses a specific officer of firing at least fifty times at Reed, even as he “lay motionless.”. “.

The board “has grave concerns about the officers’ ability to assess what is a necessary, reasonable, and proportionate use of deadly force,” according to Kersten’s letter. “.

“Unreasonable, unconstitutional, and pretextual.”.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Stroth and additional legal professionals denounced the shooting as an obvious instance of “disproportionate use of force.”. “.

They’d confirmed Reed’s possession of a gun, but they would still have to look into whether he actually pulled the trigger. The attorneys emphasized that the search was initiated by a “pretextual, unconstitutional, and unreasonable” search, which is the most recent instance of the city’s noncompliance with a federal order to modify its law enforcement practices.

Referring to the newly appointed mayor and Chicago Police Superintendent Larry Snelling, Stroth stated, “Dexter is not here because of the actions and inactions of this administration and this police chief.”. “How long before this city changes? How many more Black and Brown men have to die? “.

In 2019, a federal judge ordered Chicago to reform its policing after the Department of Justice conducted an investigation into Officer Jason Van Dyke’s 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald. Chicago’s history of interactions between police and civilians is so bad.

“Chasing prey”.

Sheila Bedi, another attorney representing Reed’s family, pointed out that the Chicago Police Department’s use of “tactical units” was specifically criticized in that 2019 federal decree.

The plainclothes teams in unmarked vehicles were described as “on the hunt” by federal investigators, according to Bedi.

According to the Northwestern Law School professor, those same “aggressive practices” are still in use years after the federal order.

She said, “This is not community policing; this is policing as an occupied force,” and that’s precisely what the federal order was supposed to address, “and it clearly failed.”. “.

The decree also attempted to do away with “pretextual” traffic stops, of which she cited Reed’s purported failure to wear a seat belt as an example.

She said, “They actually don’t give a damn about the seatbelt.”. “They truly want a reason to search the vehicle and find another one. “.

Videographer describes it as “deeply disturbing.”.

Offering his condolences to the family, the mayor described the footage as “deeply disturbing” at a separate news conference on Tuesday after the videos were made public. “.

Johnson expressed his shock at witnessing yet another young Black man die in a police encounter.

The shooting happened not far from the former teacher’s West Side residence, and the Black officer who was shot and Reed both “may have been my students.”. “.

According to him, the shooting-related officers will serve a 30-day administrative leave. He also claimed that his administration’s prompt release of the videos—which precedes a 60-day mandate—is evidence of its commitment to openness.

“Attempts to withhold or delay information are mistakes of the past,” he remarked, seemingly alluding to the delay in the release of the McDonald’s death video by Rahm Emmanuel, the current ambassador to Japan and former mayor of Chicago.

According to Foxx, her department is “investigating to determine if criminal charges are warranted.”. “.

“I’m taking a ride, mom.”.

Outside the accountability board’s offices on the Near West Side of the city, Reed’s family and attorneys held the news conference.

Banks exclaimed, “I’m burned up inside, I feel like I’ve been shot up, I’m sick and hurt.”.

She said that Reed, an athlete who adored basketball, followed up with her to make sure she was getting enough exercise and food. He treated her to a Peloton bicycle.

Banks spoke with a broken voice, “He was a good kid, and I just don’t understand why they did him like that.”. Why are the cops acting this way?

He said to her on the last day, “Momma, I’m going for a ride,” and they killed him, she recalled.

Banks broke down in tears as she finished her speech. “They killed him, they killed my son,” she sobbed as her family carried her to a chair. “.

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