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Wednesday, January 20, 2016


by Paul Smith

Seconds after a Chicago police officer opened fire on him as he ran from a South Side traffic stop, 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman had collapsed in the street when the officer's partner approached to take him into custody. "I give up. I'm shot," Chatman said to Officer Lou Toth, according to Toth's statement to investigators at the scene. A bullet had struck Chatman in the right side, pierced his heart and lodged in his spine. He died on the way to a hospital. The detail of Chatman's last words was included in hundreds of pages of investigative records released by the city Friday that laid out how Chatman's suspected involvement in a violent robbery and carjacking ended with his fatal shooting less than a mile away. The documents — which included detectives' reports from the scene, autopsy results, inventory logs, lineups and transcripts of witness interviews — show that Officer Kevin Fry consistently told investigators he saw Chatman turn with a dark object in his hand as he ran full speed across the busy South Shore neighborhood intersection in the early afternoon. "Officer Fry said he believed that the object was a handgun and he was in fear of his partner's life, as Toth was in close proximity to the offender," said an incident report documenting Fry's initial interview with detectives. The object turned out to be a black iPhone box. —Chicago Tribune, Jan. 15, 2016

A small dark object
Can disappear
One minute it’s here
And the next
It is gone
Somewhere in
The Northern or the Southern Hemisphere
It’s linked to fate
Bad luck and chance
Starting its existence
In someone’s hands
Below a car-seat
A bulge in a pocket
No video caught
And then vanishing
I suppose
Into thin air
Like unicorns
Like UFO’s
Small dark objects
Are everywhere
Everywhere except
Where they are claimed to be
A small dark object is
A mystery

Paul Smith lives near Chicago.  He writes fiction & poetry.  He likes Hemingway, really likes Bukowski, the Rolling Stones, Beatles, Kinks and Slim Harpo.  He can play James Jamerson's bass solo for 'Home Cookin' by Junior Walker & the Allstars.