Author: International Public Safety Association
By Matthew Walberg Chicago Tribune
CHICAGO — More than 120 people gathered to protest the death of 15-year-old Steven Rosenthal, who police say fatally shot himself on the back stairwell of his West Side home after he was briefly chased by officers who allegedly saw him holding a handgun.
Shouting “No justice, no peace,” or “Let us see Steve,” the crowd gathered Sunday at Johnson School of Excellence at 1420 S. Albany Ave. and marched to Mount Sinai Hospital a few blocks away, shutting down both lanes of Ogden Avenue at times.
A brief altercation ensued outside the hospital’s emergency room when a large group chanting “Let us see Steve” tried to force their way into the building and scuffled briefly with security officers blocking the doorway. A few people in the crowd wondered why the protesters went to the hospital rather than the Cook County medical examiner’s office, where the teen’s body was taken for an autopsy.
The protest later moved west down Ogden and continued along 16th Street as Chicago police officers in squad cars closed down streets to allow the marchers to pass unhindered by traffic.
Rosenthal died Friday evening 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, police said.
But Rosenthal’s family vehemently denies the teen would have ever shot himself and laid 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, the teen’s legal guardian, sobbed 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 media. “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 (Emanuel) even had the smallest compassion for our family, he’d get those videotapes released.”
On Sunday, 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.”
Carroll said he was not aware of whether any formal complaint had been lodged by the family alleging police misconduct in the death of Rosenthal.
Stroth said that he and the family are demanding a “full, independent and transparent” investigation into Rosenthal’s death. So far, the family has not been able to view his remains, he said.
“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.”
©2018 Chicago Tribune