CHICAGO — Recently released video contradicts the official accounts given by two Chicago police officers about the 2014 officer-involved shooting death of 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh.
After viewing said footage, both officers changed their stories.
Chicago’s new Civilian Office of Police Accountability (“COPA”) re-opened an earlier investigation into McIntosh’s death after being urged to do so by his family this summer. The circumstances surrounding the shooting were initially reviewed by the now-defunct Independent Police Review Authority (“IPRA”)–infamous in Chicago for allegations of incompetence and allegedly whitewashing police misconduct.
McIntosh died after police shot him as he ran away from them. Multiple officers had been responding to investigate an anonymous tip about the presence of guns in McIntosh’s West Side neighborhood of North Lawndale.
Roughly six hours after McIntosh’s death, Officer Saharat Sampim told IPRA investigators he was standing in a vacant lot next to the house where McIntosh was killed when he heard shots fired. According to his initial testimony, Sampim claimed to be 15-20 feet away from McIntosh and said he saw the teenager with his arms extended and a gun in his hand–immediately before being shot by Officer Robert Slechter.
As it turns out, Sampim never actually saw the incident from that angle. CPD surveillance footage shows Sampim in front of and off to the side of the house–as noted in a recently unsealed deposition obtained by the Chicago Tribune. Sampim, however, still claims to have seen McIntosh toting a pistol.
And now, another CPD officer changed his story, too.
Sergeant Nicola Zodo was the commanding officer at the scene of McIntosh’s death. Zodo told detectives on the night of McIntosh’s slaying–and, later, IPRA investigators–that he was in his squad car in an alley behind the house when the first shots were fired. This, Zodo claimed, prompted him to rush to the back porch where he allegedly saw McIntosh holding a gun.
The same surveillance footage that disproved Sampim’s original yarn contradicted Zodo’s story as well.
In actuality, Zodo was parked in front of the house when the shots rang out–meaning it would have taken him quite a bit longer to reach the back porch than his original–admittedly false–story indicated.
According to the Chicago Tribune‘s Dan Hinkel, the officers’ altered accounts are likely to sow doubt about the official narrative offered to the public by the Chicago Police Department (“CPD”) after McIntosh was killed.
McIntosh’s family has filed a federal lawsuit against the CPD and City of Chicago. The latest revelations are likely to be a boon to their ongoing legal action–and also likely to feed perceptions that the CPD operates on the basis of the thin blue line.
[image via shutterstock; video courtesy Civilian Office of Police Accountability]