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VICE News

Chicago police release footage of cop shooting black man as he scales a fence unarmed

by Tess Owen
Jul 26 2018, 12:30pm

Newly released body camera footage of a Chicago Police Officer fatally shooting a young black man as he tried to scale a fence doesn’t square with the Department’s version of events, according to the attorney representing the family.

Chicago officers had originally contended that they used lethal force on Maurice Granton, 24, because he’d turned around and pointed a gun at them during a foot chase on June 6 in a neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side. But the gun was apparently 20 feet away from him when he was shot in what looks like his side or back as he climbed an iron fence.

Lawyer Antonio Romanucci says the footage shows that Granton didn’t pose a threat when the officer shot him, and he issued a grim reminder.

“If you’re a young man in the city of Chicago, do not run from the Chicago police,” said Romanucci at a press conference Wednesday. “Maurice did not have a weapon in his hand when he was shot.”

The body camera footage, released by Civilian Order of Police Accountability on Wednesday, shows Granton scaling the when an officer on the other side draws his weapon and shoots him. Granton falls to the ground. The officer, identified as Sheldon Thrasher, who is black and a five-year veteran of the force, points his gun at Granton and tells him to “stay down.”

Romanucci acknowledged that a gun was found at the scene, but it was discovered 20 to 25 feet away from Granton’s body.

“There’s a weapon right there,” one of the officers is heard saying to the other. “Go get the weapon.”

In a statement by Chicago Police Department at the time, officials said the encounter stemmed from a narcotics investigation nearby. Granton fled on foot, and officers chased him. “Responding officers commanded him to stop, at which point the man produced a weapon and an armed encounter between the offender and police ensued,” according to the statement.

Attorneys for Granton’s family say that the new body camera footage challenges that account.

In the video, after he’s shot, members of the community are heard shouting, “Maurice... Stay woke.”

Both Thrasher and the other officer involved in the shooting have since returned to active duty after taking a mandatory 30-day leave, the Chicago Tribune reported.