Chicago, IL — 14-year-old Pedro Rios was walking down the street on the night of July 4th, 2014 when he crossed paths with a Chicago police cruiser.
According to reports, police spotted an object protruding from the boy’s waistband. When officers tried to question Rios, he reached for what turned out to be a .44 Magnum revolver, they said.
Police opened fire. Rios was pronounced dead at 10:07 p.m. on the scene, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.
However, an autopsy would later reveal that the two wounds were in the boys back, with an upward trajectory; suggesting that the boy was lying face down on the ground when he was killed.
Also, how does a 14-year-old boy, with no criminal past, get his hands on the very expensive “Dirty Harry gun” in a city with some of the nation’s strictest gun laws?
The incident happened outside of a surveillance supply company and was caught on many of the company’s cameras. But police have yet to release the video, despite multiple requests from the family’s attorney.
In an eye-opening report by Truthout.com, it was revealed that the boy’s death was seemingly scrubbed from police statistics as well.
Initially, the Cook County Medical examiner’s office ruled the death of the 8th grader a “homicide.” But according to their current records, Rios’ death was actually a “suicide.”
Equally ominous is the fact that the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) – a City of Chicago agency tasked with investigating police misconduct complaints and weapon discharge notifications – categorized the fatal shooting of Rios as “non-fatal” in its statistical report to the public.
Truthout found several contradictions in the case or Rios, which are listed below.
- Rios was shot twice in the back, and died of gunshot wounds from bullets with an upward course, raising the possibility that the 5-foot-4-inch youth on flat terrain was shot lying face down.
- With fatal wounds to both lungs, which would have severely and immediately impacted Rios’ breathing – in the autopsy report reading of two separate critical care doctors specializing in pulmonary medicine – the teen was highly unlikely to have been able to run in multiple directions after being shot, as asserted by Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy in his public statement.
- Charged with assault of a police officer postmortem, Rios was handcuffed and died in police custody, an “extraordinary occurrence” in Illinois penal and law enforcement terminology.
- At the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office, Rios’ parents identified their son via photograph. According to a spokesperson, the identification method was in line with office policy. But, Laura Rios and Pedro Rios Sr. described being given no information as to why they could not see their son’s body, despite asking a Cook County interpreter for explanation.
- A copy of the child’s death certificate, authorized by the medical examiner, lists “suicide” as the manner of death while the autopsy report, performed by the same medical examiner’s office lists “homicide.” A Cook County spokesperson acknowledged the mistake and reported its correction in the state’s vital records database.
If the CPD has nothing to hide, why haven’t the parents been able to view the surveillance footage of their son’s killing?
Why has this fatal police encounter been scrubbed from police statistics?
What is the city of Chicago trying to hide?
“These have been very sad months,” Laura Rios, Pedro’s mother tells Truthout in an interview through a translator.
“I need Pedro but he’s gone.”
“It is as if his life didn’t even count, as if he was trash,” she said, her voice quickening at “basura” (“trash”) and then faltering. “That hurts so much as a parent.”
“Something is not right with all of this,” she added after a silent moment, sitting up straight and brushing the hair from her eyes.
“I won’t let it go.”