The Killing of Roshad McIntosh: Anatomy of a Police Shooting

Two months before Chicago cops shot and killed Laquan McDonald in a controversial incident for which three officers were later indicted, another teenager was slain by a police bullet. A CNN reporter who investigated the less-publicized event has raised similar questions about whether the earlier shooting was justified.

On August 14, 2014, 19-year-old Roshad McIntosh was shot and killed by Chicago cops who were investigating reports of gang activity. A subsequent official inquiry concluded the shooting was justified under the Chicago police “use of force” policy because McIntosh refused to drop a gun he was holding, despite persistent calls by the officers.

But a year-long investigation by CNN reporter Rosa Flores raised serious questions about the case.

In Flores’ documentary, “Beneath the Skin,” aired last week, Flores found witnesses who cast doubt on many elements of the police account, including whether he was carrying a gun at all.

The shooting occurred several months before the more publicized killing of a 17-year-old African-American named Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by officers who said he was wielding a knife. A video of the shooting conflicted with the police account, and a subsequent investigation resulted in the indictment of three Chicago police officers last June.

Roshad McIntosh

Chicago police said Roshad McIntosh was holding this gun before he was shot. Photo courtesy CNN

Flores’ story has added more questions about the activities of the Chicago Police Department. Earlier this year, in January, the Department of Justice found that the city’s police used excessive use of force as part of a pattern of systematic abuse that was aggravated by poor oversight and inadequate training.

Was the earlier shooting of Roshad McIntosh another example of this pattern?

Flores said she began working on the story after McIntosh’s mother Cynthia Lane called CNN in 2016. Lane had filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the City of Cghicago and some of the officers involved a year earlier.

To see the full three-episode digital documentary, please click here.

Rosa Flores is a CNN reporter now based in Miami.  She is a 2017 John Jay/Guggenheim Criminal Justice Reporting Fellow. She welcomes readers’ comments.