Man fatally shot by Chicago cop in Lawndale turned toward officers while holding a gun, video shows

A man who was shot and killed during a foot chase with Chicago police last month was holding a gun as he turned toward an officer, according to body-worn camera footage released Wednesday.

Reginald Clay Jr., 24, ran from officers who approached him and a group of people in the 3800 block of West Flournoy Street around 10 a.m. on April 15, according to statements released by the police department and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Body camera footage released by COPA shows Clay walking away as the officers pulled up. Clay fled through a gangway into a backyard and then into another gangway that was blocked off.

Clay is seen turning toward the officers with a gun in his left hand. He then falls to the ground as a large blood stain appears on his chest, the video shows.

He briefly raises his bloodied hands and then collapses as an officer makes a distress call over his police radio. "Get an ambulance over here!" one of the officers cries out.

The chase lasted roughly 15 seconds.


On Wednesday, there was outrage outside Chicago police headquarters as family members of Clay asked reporters to "show the whole video."

When asked why he ran, Reginald Clay Sr. said of his son, "he was scared, he was terrified, we see on the news all the time police chase and kill us."

Both the police department and COPA reported that Clay was shot when he turned toward the officers. And both said a gun was found on him.

Neither the police department nor COPA initially described Clay holding the gun when he was shot, though CPD Deputy Chief Rahman Muhammad told reporters on the scene that Clay turned toward the officer and "brandished a handgun."

Clay’s family viewed video of the shooting on Tuesday and told reporters they didn’t see him aim a gun at the cops. Reginald Clay Sr. claimed his son was "murdered," according to Block Club Chicago.

"That’s hard to watch," Clay Sr. said. "My heart was ripped out of my chest."

The family filed a federal lawsuit days after the shooting accusing a Chicago cop of using "unprovoked and unwarranted" force and violating the department’s foot chase policy.

That controversial policy was put in place after the fatal police shootings of 13-year-old Adam Toledo and 22-year-old Anthony Alvarez, and it prohibits officers from chasing a suspect because of the "mere act of flight alone."

The officers who approached Clay’s group were on a "gang de-escalation mission" following a recent fatal shooting, according to Muhammad.

Clay, who had a 3-year-old daughter, was planning to head to a friend’s funeral and took off "to avoid being hassled" by the officers, according to the lawsuit.

"There were no facts to make anyone believe that (he) was committing a crime or breaking any laws," the suit states.

The officers involved are now on routine administrative duty as COPA continues their investigation.

A link to all the elements, including unedited body camera footage, surrounding this incident can be found HERE.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.