Police In Chicago Fired 96 Shots During A Traffic Stop, Killing A Black Motorist

Mitchell Layton / Contributor / Getty Images

A Black man died after being shot 96 times by Chicago police during a traffic stop for a seat belt violation.Now that the body camera footage has been released, Reed’s family is demanding answers.

Dexter Reed went out for a drive in his new SUV on March 21, telling his mother Sheila Banks, “Momma, I’m going out for a ride.” Those were the last words she would end up hearing from her son.

The 26-year-old was pulled over for allegedly not wearing his seat belt. The body camera footage released Tuesday shows a plainclothes officer “wearing a hooded jacket, a baseball cap and a tactical vest with a badge on it approaches the driver of a white vehicle with dark-tinted windows,” CNN reports.

With the release of the bodycam video the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) said that it “appears” that Reed fired first striking one officer and then four officers returned fire. However, the use of force is being the heavily criticized and family’s attorneys says the traffic stop should be investigated further.

During the traffic sto, the officer commanded the driver to “Roll the window down. Roll the window down.” At first Reed started complying, but then began to roll the window back up.

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

The footage shows the officer pulling on the door handle on the driver’s side and then brandishing a gun. “Unlock the doors now! Unlock the doors now!” screamed the officer with another officer on the scene shouting out similar demands.

“OK, I’m trying to,” said the driver.

Moments later, as the officer retreated from the car, gunfire broke out. Then, “[d]ozens of gunshots are then heard in rapid succession. Other bodycam videos show at least two other officers firing toward Reed from across the street in the residential neighborhood. Both of those officers paused to reload their guns.”

When the gunfire ceased, you can see Reed’s body “lying face down behind the vehicle.” The footage also shows the officers handcuffing Reed before the first responders are even able to start their chest compressions.  

“Based on the totality of the available evidence, COPA [(Chicago Office of Police Accountability)] has grave concerns about the officers’ ability to assess what is a necessary, reasonable, and proportional use of deadly force,” wrote COPA Chief Administrator Andrew Kersten in a letter.

At a press conference, attorney Steven Hart said, “Dexter was pulled over for failing to wear his seat belt. Now this leaves many, many questions.”

“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?” Hart questioned.

Andrew M. Stroth, a local civil rights lawyer representing the Reed family, said “If you watch the end of the video, you see an officer, military-style, executing Dexter while he laid by his vehicle, unarmed and helpless.”

Reed’s 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,” stated Banks.

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