Steven Rosenthal

Police claim teen boy killed himself during chase—but his family believes otherwise

A family is rejecting Chicago police and the medical examiner’s finding that a 15-year-old boy died from a self-inflicted gunshot last week during an on-foot chase with officers.

Per the Chicago Sun-Times, Steven Rosenthal’s relatives marched with activists in protest on Sunday after the Cook County medical examiner’s office backed law enforcement’s account, ruling Rosenthal’s death a suicide after performing an autopsy. Police claimed Rosenthal died after officers caught him with a gun near a home Friday evening, leading him to flee and turn the gun on himself.

Rosenthal, a basketball player at Crane Medical Prep High School, was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital a half-hour later. Alonzo Crowder, head coach of the high school’s basketball team, told the newspaper that Rosenthal’s mother succumbed to an illness in March. Rosenthal’s father died when he was 6.

The family has said they believe Rosenthal was unarmed, and their attorney, Andrew Stroth, claimed eyewitnesses saw police fatally shoot the teen, according to WLS. CBS News reported that Stroth has called for a “full, independent. and transparent” investigation.

Along with the late teen’s family, more than 100 residents gathered outside the 10th Police District in Lawndale to demand that law enforcement release bodycam footage from that fateful night.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told WMAQ that camera and ballistics evidence proves that officers didn’t fire their guns during Friday’s deadly encounter. Despite this, police haven’t commented on whether they’ll release the footage to the public.

“They need to release the video,” Rosenthal’s aunt, Taranica Thomas, said Sunday. “My nephew would never commit suicide.”

[Featured image: Steven Rosenthal/GoFundMe]