Chicago’s top cop has few answers about how an unarmed 13-year-old boy was shot and seriously injured by a Chicago police officer

Chicago's top cop has few answers about how an unarmed 13-year-old boy was shot and seriously injured by a Chicago police officer

Chicago’s top cop gave few answers Thursday about how an unarmed 13-year-old boy was shot and critically injured by a Chicago police officer after he allegedly ran away from a stolen car involved in a carjacking.

police supp. Speaking nearly 24 hours after the shooting, David Brown dodged many of the questions posed during a press conference that at times became controversial.

Brown confirmed earlier reports from the Sun-Times that the boy jumped out of a stolen Honda Accord as police approached the car and then ran to a gas station on Austin’s 800 block of North Cicero Avenue around 10:15 p.m.

Chicago Police Officer. David Brown will give a press conference on Thursday, May 19, 2022 about a police shooting of an unarmed 13-year-old boy.

Tyler Pasciak LaRivière/Sun-Times

A cop once shot the boy when the teen turned to police chasing him, Brown said, but the inspector wouldn’t say how many shots had been fired or whether the boy had his hands up.

Brown confirmed that no shots were fired at the police during the incident. He declined to say if a gun was found, although law enforcement sources and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability told the newspaper that no gun was found on the boy.

Commenting on a video of police dragging the boy after he was shot, Brown said officers were moving the boy over fears gunfire may have hit gas pumps that could “erupt into flames.”

Brown declined to provide a clear defense of the officer, telling reporters, “I’m not going to testify for the officer. No, the officer has to write his own statement.”

The inspector did not say whether he had watched both the officers’ bodycam video and the surveillance video — all of which had been made available to COPA earlier in the day.

The boy is in serious but stable condition in Stroger, where he is being held “for the stolen car,” Brown said. He gave no details and no charges have been announced.

The Accord was initially stolen Monday night after it was left 100 block off West Randolph Street, Brown said. It was later used in a carjacking the following night in Oak Park, when someone in a black face mask stole a Honda CR-V that kept running with a 3-year-old in it near Lake Street and Oak Park Avenue, according to Brown.

The boy’s mother grabbed the SUV and was dragged to the ground, breaking her collarbone. The 3-year-old was found unharmed about 15 minutes later in the car, which had been abandoned 200 block from Madison Street, Oak Park police said.

The carjacker was seen getting into the other Honda, which Brown said activated automatic license plate readers all Wednesday in Chicago and came under the surveillance of a police helicopter.

According to radio traffic, the helicopter pilot and a dispatcher repeatedly asked if there were officers on the ground chasing the car. There is some confusion as agents approach and a 10-1 is called, agent in distress code.

A dispatcher first says “shots fired at the police” but then says “shots fired by the police” as officers chased a suspect from the car. But as Brown and others later confirmed, officers were not fired upon.

Brown said the injured boy also appeared to be involved in Monday and Tuesday’s incidents, but did not provide details.

As usual, the officer who opened fire will be placed on administrative duties for 30 days while COPA investigates.

The agency said it has no plans to publicly release the video it received about the case, despite the lingering questions, and says it is prohibited by state law. COPA had also cited state law when it initially refused to release a video of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 13-year-old Adam Toledo while fleeing police in Little Village more than a year ago.

But days later, the agency’s general counsel concluded that the law does not prohibit the publication of body-worn and third-party video footage the agency has obtained to date. The video was released and footage showed Adam dropping a gun a second before the officer opened fire.

It was not clear why COPA is not releasing the latest video, although police records involving minors are generally hidden from the public.

Another question the shooting raises is the department’s policy on foot chases and whether the officers followed it. The department revised its foot pursuit policy following the fatal shootings by police of Adam and, days later, 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez.

Unveiled earlier this year, the revised policy highlights the inherent danger of foot chases and prohibits officers from starting them for minor infractions such as traffic congestion. The policy also enhances the role of police enforcement officers in ensuring proper guidance and communication when a chase begins.

Brown said COPA’s investigation will reveal whether Wednesday’s pursuit fell within that policy.

Brown said he would not compare Wednesday’s shooting to the murder of Adam. “It’s really important to look at this as a separate case in itself and not make generalizations that could be confused with this case,” he said.

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