The Chicago Police have released surveillance video capturing portions of the incident that left Kajuan Raye, an unarmed black nineteen-year-old, dead at the hands of a white officer. None of the videos show the actual shooting, nor do they show any evidence to support the officer’s story. This shooting is just one of dozens of cases that were reviewed by the Justice Department, whose recent report on the Chicago Police Department showed patterns of institutionalized racism and Fourth Amendment violations.
Sgt. John Poulos was responding to a report of a battery in the area that Kajuan Raye was located. Raye was sitting at a bus stop when Poulos pulled up to him with his lights and sirens blaring. As he should be, Raye was scared and took off running. Poulos gave chase. According to Poulos, Raye turned toward him twice during the pursuit, both times, pointing a firearm at him. Raye allegedly “matched the description” of the suspect, a standard police tag line when they want to stop and harass an innocent person. ‘Matched the description’ was also the reason for the stop that led to the death of Philando Castile.
Multiple surveillance videos of the chase were released, or at least how it began. At no point does the video corroborate Poulos’ account of events. The video shows Raye fleeing for his life. It does not show him look back, and at no point does it show him with a weapon. There was no allegation of a weapon in the original battery call that Poulos was responding to, either. The investigation team scoured the area and were unable to locate any firearm in the area. Fundamentally, Poulos lied to cover up the fact that he executed an unarmed man accused of no crime.
According to Raye’s family attorney Michael Oppenheimer, any claim that Raye had a gun is “simply ridiculous.” The family obtained Oppenheimer to represent them in a lawsuit filed against the city. “It is another attempt to cover up another fatal shooting by the Chicago Police Department.”
Once again, CPD records show that Poulos has been the subject of at least nine complaints that were investigated by the department. He was relieved of his police powers in November. “Having been a police officer for 28 years, I know that this job is not easy and the decision to use force is extremely complex and must be made in seconds without the benefits of formal reviews and deliberations,” stated Superintendent Eddie Johnson. “However, based on the little information we know at this point, I have concerns about this incident and feel this decision is in the best interest of the department and the people of Chicago as we await a methodical and impartial investigation into exactly what transpired.”
The fact that the video was released to the public is a promising sign that charges will soon follow. This was the second shooting that Poulos has been involved in. He shot and killed another unarmed black man in August 2013, after leaving a family owned bar and confronting an unarmed alleged burglar in an alley. He shot and killed him. It was later determined that the man was unarmed. The killing of Raye shows a pattern of excessive force and a blatant disregard for human life. Poulos was cleared of the shooting, as would be expected. In the case of Raye, however, the video footage may be all it takes to put Poulos behind bars.
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