Community organizers held a rally on April 18, with at least 100 protesters outside of Chicago Police Department Headquarters in support of the family of Dexter Reed, who was shot and killed by police on March 21.

CHICAGO—The country’s third largest city is in the national spotlight once again with the fatal shooting of Dexter Reed, a 26-year-old Black man, by a five-person tactical team with the Chicago Police Department.

Tactical teams have a long history in Chicago; the plainclothes officers often police in high-crime areas. On March 21, a plain clothes tactical team pulled Mr. Reed over for allegedly not wearing a seat belt. Body camera footage worn by officers shows them surrounding Mr. Reed’s vehicle, which had dark tinted windows, with guns drawn, and issuing commands.

The officers instructed Mr. Reed to roll his window down, and as can be seen in the footage, one officer attempted to open his car door, however, the door was locked. The officer proceeds several times to tell Mr. Reed to “open the door now,” and this is when the traffic stop turned fatal.

Within 41 seconds, 96 shots were fired by police. The Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), believes Mr. Reed fired first at police, wounding an officer in the hand.


Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara stated that Mr. Reed fired not one, but 11 rounds, and was still firing when the officers began firing back.

Longtime activist Carolyn J. Ruff holds a sign in support of Dexter Reed.

“The footage was extremely painful and traumatic and the officers involved in the fatal shooting have been placed on a 30-day administrative leave.

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,” Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson stated during a news conference.

Community organizers held a rally on April 18, with at least 100 protesters outside of Chicago Police Department Headquarters at 3510 S. Michigan, in support of the Reed family.

Organizers called for the firing of Chicago Police Department’s Superintendent Larry Snelling. Supt. Snelling has stated that for now, he will not strip the five officers of their police powers.

“There should be an oversight body, COPA should exist. The bottom line is this, it does not exist to create a bias. Every investigation should be carried out with transparency but with 100 percent professionalism,” Superintendent Snelling said at a Police Board meeting.

“He could have been apprehended, but instead tactical units fired 96 shots,” said activist Miracle Boyd, with Good Kids Mad City.

One of the attorneys for the Reed family is Cierra Norris, civil rights attorney and activist. “I am compelled to continue this tough conversation that is surrounding Mr. Reed. I think it is very important to get the perspective of criminal defense attorneys in this city.

Every single day, hours of body camera videos are being reviewed and we are watching officers ambush people over traffic tickets. They are cutting them off from the front, and they are surrounding them in plain clothes, they are causing the chaos and the danger that they now choose to cloak themselves with,” she said.

“In 2017, the federal government told the Chicago Police Department to stop doing jumpouts,” she said, referring to the tactic when multiple law enforcement officers, patrolling in an unmarked car, at some point aggressively “jump out” to apprehend or confront a suspect. The term “Jump Out Boys,” derived from this tactic.

“The only thing it leads to is the death of young Black men. They would never allow five plain clothes Black officers to surround a Caucasian boy up North, and expect him to remain calm, and expect him to remain polite, and expect him to comply,” said Atty. Norris.

Loren Jones representing the Free to Move Coalition and Impact for Equity, stated, “We are standing in solidarity with everyone out here calling for justice, and calling for an end to pretextual traffic stops.

Our coalition has been asking the mayor and the city for over a year to implement a specific policy to end the use of the same type of stop that was used to pull over Dexter Reed. This policy has been in the hands of the mayor and the superintendent and now is the time to act.”

Grace Patino, with the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, stated the police superintendent should be fired and that the officers involved “in the execution of Dexter Reed must be immediately fired and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible. Dexter Reed should be here today.”

Frank Chapman is the educational director and field organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racist Repression. “The video that I saw, I did not see Reed making a shot. A large number of us in the community don’t trust what the police say about these things because they have been dishonest in the past.

They have covered up their crimes, and if the only report you got is a report from the police, then that is all you got because the dead person cannot give you anything,” he said.

Arewa Karen Winters is the founder of the 411 Movement for Pierre Loury, named after her great-nephew who was shot and killed by Chicago police in 2016. “Police officers are supposed to identify themselves before they execute legal lethal force.

I did not hear that in the video, when the video starts, I did not hear any de-escalating techniques. Everything I heard was escalated. They created a critical situation for that young man, they put that young man in an extremely volatile, probably reactionary situation.”

—Shawntell Muhammad, Contributing Writer