Black man’s family demand answers after bodycam shows Chicago police firing 96 times in deadly shooting

COPA said that officers fired 96 times, even after Reed got out of his car and fell on the ground

Amelia Neath
Wednesday 10 April 2024 13:59 BST
Police fire 96 shots during Chicago traffic stop, bodycam footage shows

The family of Dexter Reed, who was killed by Chicago police last month, demands answers following the release of bodycam footage showing officers firing 96 times, even after he fell on the ground.

Dexter Reed, 26, was killed on 21 March by Chicago police during a traffic stop for purportedly not wearing his seat belt, but the stop ended in an exchange of multiple bullets, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) said in a statement.

COPA is a city agency responsible for investigating allegations of police misconduct and keeping police held accountable.

After Reed was stopped, multiple officers surrounded his vehicle and gave him verbal commands, but when he did not comply, officers pointed their firearms “and ultimately there was an exchange of gunfire which left Mr Reed dead and an officer shot in the forearm”.

After reviewing the footage, COPA determined that it appeared Reed fired first, striking an officer, and our officers returned fire.

In the space of 41 seconds, officers returned fire around 96 times, including after Reed exited his vehicle and fell on the ground, COPA stated.

The agency released multiple videos of the officer-involved shooting from under three weeks ago. One video shows an officer approaching the driver of a white vehicle, which appeared to have dark-tinted windows.

In bodycam footage, an officer can be heard asking Reed to “Roll the window down. Roll the window down”. The driver initially rolled his window down but then rolled it back up.

“What are you doing?” the officer asks. “Don’t roll the window up. Do not roll the window up.”

After pulling on the driver’s door handle, the officer draws a gun and asks Reed to “Unlock the doors now”, with other officers shouting the same orders.

The officer repeatedly shouts, “Open the door now.”

Seconds later, gunfire breaks out, and dozens of shots are heard.

The footage also shows later Reed’s body lying face down behind the vehicle.

Dexter Reed’s sister, Porscha Banks, said her brother would have been ‘scared’ as firearms were pointed at him
Dexter Reed’s sister, Porscha Banks, said her brother would have been ‘scared’ as firearms were pointed at him (AP)

The man was struck by gunfire multiple times and was transported to hospital, where he was pronounced deceased, COPA said, adding that a gun was found on the front passenger seat of Reed’s vehicle.

One officer was shot in the wrist during the gunfire and was hospitalised in good condition, Chicago police said, according to CNN.

Ephraim Eaddy, COPA’s first deputy chief administrator, said in a statement released by COPA that they have recommended to Superintendent Larry Snelling that the Chicago Police Department should relieve four officers of their police powers while the investigation is ongoing.

After the release of the footage, the family of the deceased man are raising questions over the deadly shooting, with his uncle calling it “plain murder”.

“Dexter was pulled over for failing to wear his seat belt. Now this leaves many, many questions,” attorney Steven Hart said at a press conference. “Why were tactical officers jumping out of an unmarked police car with their guns drawn for a simple traffic violation of not wearing a seat belt?”

His sister, Porsche Banks, claimed that her brother would have been “scared” as firearms were pointed at him.

"If he was supposed to get pulled over for a traffic stop, why do they have four guns pointed at him? He was scared. And after he was already on the ground there, they still put him in cuffs instead of checking to see if he was breathing. They shot to him 96 times and reloaded the clip three times," Ms Banks said.

Reed’s uncle, Roosevelt Banks, said that if he were in that scenario, he wouldn’t know what to do.

Dexter Reed's mother, Nicole Banks, speaks to reporters outside the headquarters for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability
Dexter Reed's mother, Nicole Banks, speaks to reporters outside the headquarters for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (AP)

“If I was in that situation, I would be terrified. I wouldn’t know how to … react other than to protect myself,” Banks said after watching the police footage.

“After he was shot up … you continued as you added clips to your gun?” Mr Banks claimed. “That is nothing but plain murder to me.”

Brandon Johnson, the mayor of Chicago, said at a separate conference that he met with Reed’s family after the shooting.

"As mayor, and as a father raising a family, including two Black boys on the West Side of Chicago, I am personally devastated to see yet another young Black man lose his life during an interaction with the police," Mr Johnson said. "Our heart breaks for the family of Dexter Reed. They are grieving the loss of a son, a brother and a nephew."

He added that he will be working with COPA and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office to help with transparency in the investigation.

"Shooting a police officer can never be condoned," Johnson said. "Never condoned, never excused. I will never stand for that, and neither will the city of Chicago. And we also have to be clear that we hold our police to the highest of standards."

At the time of the shooting, Reed was facing charges for allegedly carrying a gun in his pocket, while walking into a street festival, ABC7 reports.

He was in court on that gun charge less than two weeks before the shooting, the outlet said.

In their statement, COPA said they take investigations like these very seriously and have investigated the scene, camera footage, and evidence, among other measures.

They add they are in contact with Reed’s family and will provide updates as the investigation continues.

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