Over 100 protesters gathered to protest the death of 15-year-old Steven Rosenthal, who police say took his own life after a brief chase.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the crowd marched and shut down traffic while chanting “no justice, no peace,” and “let us see Steve.”
According to the Tribune, Rosenthal died August 17 at his home in the 1500 block of South Keeler Avenue in the Lawndale neighborhood, and the medical examiner’s office ruled his death a suicide from a gunshot wound to the head.
Police said the teen fled when officers tried to question him after spotting him with a weapon just before 7 p.m. Friday. A short time afterward, Rosenthal shot himself in the head, reports the Tribune.
Rosenthal’s family stongly disagree with that conclusion, according to the Tribune they said that the teen would have ever shot himself and place the blame on the officers, who they said they believe shot him based on what individuals who claim to have witnessed the incident have said.
“Steven was on the stairwell of his grandmother’s house on the West Side of Chicago when police officers stormed up the stairwell chasing,” the family’s attorney, Andrew Stroth, said at a news conference prior to the march Sunday. “Within moments, these officers, without cause or provocation, shot and killed 15-year old Steven. … Based on several eyewitness accounts, these officers ended the hopes and the dreams of a talented young man with a bright future.”
Rosenthal’s aunt, and legal guardian, cried as she made a public plea to Mayor Rahm Emanuel to order the release of any body camera recordings of the shooting.
“My 15-year old nephew Steven was shot and killed by the Chicago Police Department,” Terinica Thomas-Level, 28, said, weeping and shaking visibly as she stood before the news cameras. “I need the attention of Mayor Emanuel. I need to see evidence. Body cams. They need to release the video. My nephew would never commit suicide ever. … If he even had the smallest compassion for our family, he’d get those videotapes released.”
The Tribune reports that police spokesman Michael Carroll said that the shooting remains under investigation and that the department, “has not come to a point where the decision has been made to release the body cam video.
“The medical examiner has not released Steven’s body,” Stroth said at the news conference. “The family is demanding to see the body, the family is demanding to see the evidence, the family is demanding to see the supposed, alleged weapon that was on the scene. The family deserves justice, and that’s what the family is fighting for.”
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