Chicago, IL – The Civilian Office of Police Accountability has released bodycam footage showing Chicago police officers’ harrowing encounter with a butcher knife-wielding man (video below).
Wen Min Chen, 30, was tased and shot by the officers after he repeatedly ignored commands – given both in English and Cantonese – to drop the “large meat cleaver” he was holding, WMAQ reported.
The incident occurred at approximately 12 p.m. on March 13, after officers received a report of a domestic disturbance at a residence in the 2800-block of South Throop, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
When officers arrived at the scene, Chen’s wife, who struggled to speak English, told them that her husband was the only person inside the second-floor apartment, bodycam footage showed.
A woman off-camera told the officer that Chen was “trying to commit suicide.”
After learning that no one had a key to the residence, the officers attempted to make entry through a locked upstairs door, but then opted to try to get into the apartment through a back door a moment later, the video showed.
That door was also locked, but the officers were able to reach through a window to open the door from the inside.
The officers proceeded up a winding staircase and into the darkened apartment, where they then opened the front door to allow additional officers inside.
“It has to be in this one,” a female officer said as she stood outside a locked door inside the residence. “I hear someone in here.”
Using a key provided by Chen’s wife, the officers opened the door and saw a shirtless Chen standing on the other side.
“He cut himself,” a female officer said.
“Drop the knife,” another officer ordered. “He’s got a butcher knife.”
The officers repeatedly ordered Chen to put down his weapon, both in English and Cantonese, before two officers deployed their Tasers.
Chen yelled and backed out of the room with the cleaver still firmly gripped in his right hand, the video showed.
Blood could be seen on his back, chest, and neck.
“Drop the knife!” the officers repeatedly commanded, but Chen did not comply.
A single gunshot rang out, and Chen crumpled to the floor with a gunshot wound to his upper thigh.
He tossed the cleaver to the side and screamed as he rolled onto his back.
Chen was taken to Stroger Hospital for treatment and has been charged with 12 counts of aggravated assault to a peace officer, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
In accordance with department policy, the officer who shot Chen was placed on administrative leave for 30 days.
“COPA is committed to transparency and the timely release of all relevant materials in accordance with the city’s video release policy and remains committed to conducting fair and objective investigations in a timely and transparent manner,” the Civilian Office of Police Accountability said in a statement, according to WMAQ.
“The release of this video was prohibited due to a court order which has now been rescinded allowing COPA to make the relevant materials available to the public,” the office said, according to the Chicago Sun Times.
You can watch bodycam footage of the officers’ encounter with Chen in the video below: