April 9, 2024

Mayor Brandon Johnson’s Remarks on the Release of Bodycam Video from a March 21 Police-Involved Shooting

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO – On Tuesday, April 9, 2024, Mayor Brandon Johnson delivered the following prepared remarks at a 10:45 a.m. press conference on the release of bodycam video from a March 21 police-involved shooting: 

Good morning. Thank you all for joining us and thank you Chief Administrator Kersten and State’s Attorney Foxx for standing with me today.   

We are here to address today’s release of deeply disturbing footage of a shooting on March 21st in Garfield Park.  

I know this footage is extremely painful and traumatic for many of our city’s residents. It will be especially difficult for those of us living in communities where the events depicted occur all too often. As mayor, and as a father raising a family – including two Black boys on the West Side – I am personally devastated to see yet another young Black man lose his life during an interaction with the police.   

My heart breaks for the family of Dexter Reed.  They are grieving the loss of a son, a brother and a nephew.  I spoke to Dexter’s family this weekend and offered them my deepest condolences. I know there is also a community of friends, teammates, coaches, and neighbors who are mourning his loss as well.     

I have also been praying for the full recovery of the officer who was shot during this interaction, and who I visited in the hospital the day of the incident. Thankfully, he is recovering, but if that bullet had hit him a few inches in a different direction, I would be here today talking about the loss of another young Black man.   

It weighs heavily on me that this event took place just blocks from my own community. And it is not lost on me that both Dexter Reed and this officer could have been my students.   

As a city, I want our efforts to be focused on accountability and transparency. That is why today I am joined by leadership from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. All of us up here are making a firm commitment to collaboration, to cooperation, and to provide transparency for the people of Chicago so that we can ensure that accountability is upheld and justice is achieved.  

Officers involved in the events of March 21 are on a 30-day administrative leave.  And once COPA alerted my administration to the video, it was important to us that Dexter Reed’s family see it as soon as possible, and once they had viewed it, that it was promptly released to the public. Because the people of Chicago deserve to have awareness and full knowledge of police shootings.   

When someone is shot and killed by police in our city, my administration will lead with transparency. Attempts to withhold or delay information are mistakes of the past, and we have already taken concrete steps to start a full investigation into this case.  

I have directed Garien Gatewood, my Deputy Mayor of Community Safety, to work with our Community Safety Coordination Center to provide services to residents of the Garfield Park community. Our teams have coordinated with community-based organizations to provide mental health, crisis support and trauma support to community members. We have also been monitoring the physical and mental health of the injured officer and ensuring he has the best care.  But there is still much more work to be done in terms of building trust between our communities and police, and my administration is committed to doing that.  

It will not be easy, but we will not rest, and the only way we can build trust is through accountability. Without true accountability, and without constitutional policing, there will never be trust between communities and the police. And without trust, we will never be safe in our communities.  

My administration cannot do this alone. We will need the help of our faith leaders, our elected leaders, our community partners and every person across our great city. Our city needs all of us, and our children need all of us in order to stop the violence and restore trust.   

In the past, previous administrations have not always moved with expediency in informing the public, taking months – or a year – to release footage, or only doing so when faced with legal action. But this administration is committed to transparency, justice, and the rule of law.   

I want to be clear, shooting a police officer can never be condoned, or excused. I will never stand for that. And we will always hold our police to the highest standard. As agents of the law, they have the highest responsibility to the communities they serve. As a government, as representatives of the people, we have an obligation to abide by the rule of law and to follow procedures, and that is what we are doing here.  

As this city remembers the life of Dexter Reed, I urge everyone to remain peaceful and not lead our city down a path of division, but instead towards healing and change for the better. We all grieve the loss of life and the trauma that follows pervasive violence. We cannot ever accept violence as a way of life in Chicago.   

This is a call for dialogue, advocacy, and ultimately constructive action to prevent tragic events like this from ever happening again. And this administration is deeply committed to accountability and transparency so that true justice and true safety are realized.  

Thank you.