Our data analysis found that 834 CPD officers did not use body cameras during at least one arrest between May 28, and Aug.18. This story is a part of our Black Summer 2020 project.

New data released by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) from the first weekend of the Black Summer 2020 uprisings shows that 64% of all arrests between May 30 and June 1 occurred without body camera footage.

Additionally, as CPD officers originally equipped with body cameras were reassigned to a newly created unit, named the Community Safety Team, they lost access to their body cameras. 

The Community Safety Team (CST) includes the two officers, Nicholas Ardolino and Matthew Marano, who fired 15 shots at Latrell Allen in Englewood on Aug. 9. The officers were not wearing body cameras during the shooting. Allen was hospitalized with multiple gunshot wounds to his cheek and abdomen after the shooting. 

In our emails to CPD, we asked why Officers Ardolino and Marano were deployed to the Community Safety Team without body cameras, despite the natural tendency of officers in the unit to be placed in violent situations.   

“Officers assigned to CST [Community Safety Team] came from various units throughout the Department, and not all of them had been assigned BWCs [body-worn cameras],” CPD assistant communications director Luis Agostini responded in an email on Dec. 18. “Body-worn cameras were not fully fielded to officers assigned to the CST until late Summer 2020.”

Our analysis — based on FOIA requests for data on individual officers’ body camera usage, use-of-force reports, and arrest records — identified a pattern of CPD officers not using body cameras during arrests, including the controversial police shooting and arrest of Allen, which sparked a second wave of civil unrest during the latter half of the uprisings.

According to the police report, Officers Ardolino and Marano pulled up to the 5700 block of South Aberdeen to respond to a 911 call reporting a man in a red shirt and red hat waving a gun at nearby Moran Park. They spotted Allen, and chased him on foot. During the foot pursuit, police said Allen began shooting at them in the alley. The Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) released a POD area surveillance video showing the initial chase. In the video, a CPD squad vehicle jumps a curb and the chase continues down the sidewalk and soon off-camera. CPD hasn’t released any video that shows Allen with any firearm.

Our data analysis found that, prior to being assigned to the Community Safety Team, Ardolino last used his body camera on April 28 and Marano last used his body camera on April 10. Our analysis also revealed that both officers had consistently used body cameras from at least Jan. 1, 2019 until reassignment to the Community Safety Team. 

The Community Safety Team was created on July 23 to help reduce violent crime in neighborhoods on the South and West sides while also building stronger relationships with those neighborhoods. It is made up of nearly 300 officers, mostly reassigned from other units including SWAT, gang, and gun units.

Whereas Lightfoot reportedly blamed the shortage on an agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police that disallows officers from sharing body cameras, our data analysis casts serious doubts on that claim, since both officers had worn body cameras before being reassigned. 

In a Dec. 21 email to The TRiiBE, CPD assistant communications director Luis Agostini said body-worn cameras “stay in the district or unit facility,” and do not go with officers upon reassignment.

According to our data analysis, the Community Safety Team had its first use-of-force incident on July 24, followed by two more on July 28. According to reports we obtained, officers on the Community Safety Team did not begin to wear body cameras until Aug. 14, after the mass outcries against excessive force and insufficient evidence following Allen’s shooting.

Between July 24 and Aug. 13, the Community Safety Team amassed 23 use-of-force reports that describe incidents involving officers who were not wearing cameras. Ardolino and Marano did not start using their body cameras again until Oct. 12 and Sept. 4, respectively. The data we obtained does not indicate whether all officers in this unit currently have body cameras. However, after Allen’s shooting, CPD promised that all officers on the Community Safety Team — and other officers without body cameras — will be equipped with body cameras by 2021.


Black people have a deeply distrustful relationship with the Chicago Police Department (CPD), spanning nearly a century. This history is one of assassinations: including the murder of Fred Hampton in 1969; kidnapping and torture such as the story of former CPD Detective and Commander Jon Burge’s torture ring and CPD’s Homan Square “black site;” miscarriages of justice such as the fatal case of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in 2012; and elaborate cover-ups such as the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) concluded a year-long investigation into that history, which resulted in a federal court order — commonly known as a consent decree —  mandating “broad police reform” of CPD for the first time in the history of the department. 

In essence, the consent decree is 226 pages worth of hundreds of mandates — 721 to be exact — handed down by a federal court, instructing CPD and city government on how to address their pattern of civil rights violations and general misconduct in policing. 

Chicago is under one of 13 consent decrees mandated by the DOJ nationwide, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, New Orleans, Miami, Detroit, Seattle and Cleveland. 

The decree doesn’t specify a date upon which the follow-through of the mandates should yield any measurable change, but an independent monitor chosen by federal court, Maggie Hickey, an attorney at Schiff Hardin law firm, is required annually to measure and report on CPD’s progress under the decree.

Chicago police protecting Trump Tower during the "Day of Protest" on May 30 following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, MN. Photo by Darius Griffin // The TRiiBE
Chicago police using their batons on protestors during "Day of Protest" in downtown Chicago. Photo by Darius Griffin // The TRiiBE

One of the key parts of the consent decree is the body-worn camera (BWC) mandate, which offers the most direct pathway to police accountability when followed properly. However, Chicago police officers have consistently failed to wear or use body cameras in some of the most crucial situations.

All sworn members and their immediate supervisors assigned to a Bureau of Patrol district normally assigned to field duties and any other member at the discretion of the district commander will be assigned and utilize a BWC.

In accordance with page 67 of the consent decree, uniformed CPD officers assigned to patrol field duties should be equipped with body cameras. However, the consent decree is at odds with the CPD’s body-worn camera directive, which only requires units under the Bureau of Patrol (BOP) to be equipped with body cameras. The new Community Safety Team unit was created outside of the BOP, and so its officers did not require body cameras by CPD’s own directives. 

In our emails to CPD, we asked if it was intentional to move officers from BOP units to non-BOP units, knowing that the new unit would not require body cameras. In a Dec. 21 email to The TRiiBE, Agostini said “it was not intentional.”

This apparent loophole, the Aug. 9 shooting of Latrell Allen, and the policing of the Black Summer 2020 uprisings encapsulate many of the reasons why effective policies and consistent use of body cameras is essential to holding police accountable, protecting the civil rights of Chicagoans, and effectively delivering justice.

MAP: 64% of all arrests between May 30 and June 1 occurred without body camera footage

ABOUT THIS MAP: This map is a day-by-day breakdown by neighborhood of every arrest where neither the first nor the secondary Chicago police officer responding to an issue wore a body camera. Source: FOIA Bodycamera Metatadata and Arrests Data Given by CPD.

Our data analysis found that 834 CPD officers did not use body cameras during at least one arrest between May 28, and Aug.18. 

Our analysis covers all arrests throughout this time, and is done by comparing the time of arrest with the timestamps from each officer’s body camera. If the officer was identified as having no body camera footage within an hour of an arrest, then that officer is marked as missing body camera footage for that arrest.  Our analysis only looks at the first and second arresting officers, which are noted on the police reports, and ignores assisting officers. Additionally, our analysis does not include the arrests of minors.

MAP: 32% of all arrests between Aug. 8-10 occurred without body camera footage

ABOUT THIS MAP: This map is a day-by-day breakdown by neighborhood of every arrest where neither the first nor the secondary Chicago police officer responding to an issue wore a body camera. Source: FOIA Bodycamera Metatadata and Arrests Data Given by CPD.

Typically arrest reports identify arrests as having two main officers — the “first arresting officer” and the “second arresting officer.”  Both are mandated to have body cameras during the arrest if they are in the Bureau of Patrol. 

With the extensively reported violence by CPD police officers during the summer’s protests, including tactics that include kettling, the inability for the public to argue against the word of an officer for so many arrests is simply shocking. This is in the face of CPD being aware of their systemic lack of body camera usage during arrests.

MAP: The 11th District Had Most Officers Without Body Cameras Between May and August

ABOUT THIS MAP: This map is a breakdown, by district, of the number of times a Chicago police officer did not use their assigned body camera during an arrest. This data is restricted to first and second arresting officers — assisting officers are not included in the data. This map matches the pattern identified by CPD in their Force Review Division Quarterly 1 report, where a significant number of police in district 11 did not comply with body-worn camera requirements. Hover over the map for more details. Source: FOIA Bodycamera Metatadata and Arrests Data Given by CPD

In the Force Review Divison’s (FRD) Q1 report by CPD, the average non-compliance rate for District 11 —  which includes the neighborhoods Humboldt Park, East Garfield Park, and West Garfield Park —  was 28.8 percent for the first months of 2020, compared to 17.2 percent for all other CPD districts during the same timeframe. The report goes on to note that within District 11, five tactical teams amounted to two-thirds of the district’s body-worn camera non-compliance. Their report, however, does not specify what “non-compliance” means.


The consent decree states that the body-worn camera mandate is designed to “increase officer accountability, improve trust and CPD legitimacy in the community, and augment CPD’s records of law enforcement-related activities.” 

The only one of those goals that has been clearly met is the last one; the mandate has certainly “augmented” the records of law-enforcement activities. But Black Chicagoans arguably trust the police and city government less now than they did at the beginning of the year, and while the lack of body-worn camera footage hinders investigations into misconduct claims, CPD should at least be accountable for their loopholing of their own directives and violating the body-worn camera mandates within the consent decree. 

In a statement to the TRiiBE, Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office said that “all officers who are found not to be in compliance are disciplined in accordance with the Department’s policies and collective bargaining agreement.” 

Deferring to CPD’s set policies may not be enough to properly address the rampant accountability issues, considering that by their own admittance, not a single officer has been fired for failure to adhere to body-worn camera policy.

In a statement to the TRiiBE, Assistant Director of Communications for CPD, Luis Agostini said that “discipline can include/range from a VN (Violation Noted), a formal reprimand, or loss of day(s) without pay (again, based on the severity/frequency of the violation).” This statement suggests that violation of the body-worn camera directives— and, in turn, the consent decree— is under no circumstances a fireable offense.

According to one Englewood resident, Khiry Moore, the idea that there is a lack of accountability for CPD policing practices is not new.

Moore, 26, is an Englewood native. He was a block away from 57th and Aberdeen on Aug. 9 when Allen’s shooting happened, and he immediately spoke to witnesses who told him they saw Allen running away from the police cruiser, tiring out and turning away from police before he was shot. Eyewitnesses said that they never saw Allen pull a weapon on the officers.

“We tend to run when police pull up because we already have a fear of ending up in situations like this,” Moore said, referring to Allen’s shooting. We spoke on the phone Aug. 13.

“I think it’s just easier for them [the police] to label him [Latrell Allen] a criminal because of the address on his I.D.,” Moore continued. “I grew up around him and his family. I would see them all the time at the park.”

Moore and his younger brother aren’t a part of any organization, but are known in the Englewood community for having organized back-to-school drives, cookouts and neighborhood cleanups. After Allen’s shooting, the Englewood community became more galvanized around a mission to better their community.

“I’m seeing more people out there to help clean up the streets, there’s more people coming up to me asking about when the next backpack drive is, people are looking after each others’ kids more closely,” he said. 

But the community’s distrust of police has only deepened since then. “The distrust has been amplified by five. The entire neighborhood is on edge. People are realizing that they [the police] are treating us like animals,” he said.

Thousands of people participated in the "Day of Protest" in Chicago on May 30 following the police killing of George Floyd. Photo by Darius Griffin // The TRiiBE

At a press conference on Aug. 10, the morning after Allen’s shooting, CPD Supt. David Brown announced that his officers made more than 100 arrests overnight for looting, disorderly conduct and battery against police, among other charges. 

Later in the press conference, Brown and Lightfoot condemned the looting that took place overnight in downtown Chicago, and presented updates to the way CPD planned to prevent future looting. This included restricting access to downtown from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m., and activating the Neighborhood Protection Plan (the one that involves lifting the bridges and using CDOT and Water management vehicles to block off major roadways).     

“What happened in our city last night and this morning, of course, is deeply painful for every Chicagoan,” Lightfoot said at the press conference. “As the superintendent said, this was an assault on our city. It undermines public safety and breeds a sense of insecurity among our residents.”

If you didn’t know any better, you’d assume that the mayor was referring to Ardolino and Marano, the two police officers who drove a cruiser onto the sidewalk of a residential street and shot a man in front of his neighbors. Instead, the mayor uses such jingoistic language to describe poor Black people ransacking a Ferragamo store.

Another Englewood resident, Kenny Doss II, believes that the city’s focus should be shifted towards protecting Englewood. Doss is President of the Englewood-based non-profit Bridging the Gap Globally, and a former 16th Ward aldermanic candidate. 

“We are a product of our environment. You look around Englewood, and the environment lacks resources,” Doss says. “Englewood still looks the same [after lifting the bridges]. Hopeless and Helpless.”

That’s the energy Doss felt in the neighborhood after speaking with other Englewood residents since the shooting. 

“Imagine being in a place where the schools are being closed, the grass in the vacant lots is up to your shoulders, potholes everywhere, and you come outside and see things like this happening to people that look like you,” Doss says. “We don’t need police to come in here and be an occupying force. These kids need someone to show them some understanding and opportunity. I think we could prevent situations like [Allen’s] from ever happening.”


Allen is still being held in Cook County Jail with a $1 million bond. The attempted murder charge that he is facing is based on police’s narrative that Allen shot first.

The TRiiBE made numerous attempts to contact Allen and his family but to no avail. We were finally able to find contact info for Scott Finger, the public defender handling Allen’s case. 

When we reached out, we received this response from Lester Finkle, Chief of Staff of the Cook County Public Defender’s office: “Your request to discuss the case of Mr. Latrell Allen was forward to me. I understand that you would like to talk to the attorney representing Mr. Allen, as well as Mr. Allen or any close family members. We cannot reveal any information about a client that we learn during the course of legal representation, pursuant to the Illinois Supreme Court Rules of Professional Responsibility. As a result, we cannot and will not be discussing Mr. Allen’s case, nor can we put you in contact with others to talk about his case. I hope you understand our responsibility and duty.”

The TRiiBE requested shotspotter records from CPD to compare the reported number of bullets fired with the audio of each recorded shot, however CPD rejected that request on Nov. 18, citing that the request is under ongoing investigation and releasing the records could compromise the investigation. We have since submitted a records request appeal to the Illinois State Attorney General’s office. One week after their rejection, CPD released audio from three shotspotter devices, however the audio is short and isn’t immediately helpful. We will continue pursuing longer clips of the recorded audio.

The shooting and arrest of Allen on Aug. 9 only stoked the flames of the ongoing Black Summer 2020 uprisings, which began in Chicago on Memorial Day weekend. Not only was Allen jailed without CPD providing any concrete evidence to corroborate their claim that Allen shot first, since there was no police body camera or dash camera footage of the shooting, but Lightfoot and CPD’s response was directed towards the looting that occurred in response to the shooting instead of the shooting itself. 

At that point, demonstrators had another example of the lack of accountability for police violence against Black people.

During the "Day of Protest" in downtown Chicago on May 30, protesters brought signs like the "Am I Next" one pictured here. Photo by Darius Griffin // The TRiiBE

“Ultimately, the police department has too much say in the fate of the police department. No system of accountability can work when the people we want to hold accountable have most of the power.” says 43-year-old Tanya Watkins, Executive Director of SOUL (Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation). “My goal is to live in a world where not only do we not have police, but we come to understand why we don’t need them.”

Before the Black Summer 2020 uprisings, demands to defund the police had already existed for decades, but the Chicago police’s misconduct towards protesters during the uprisings turned abolition into a mainstream debate. 

By the end of the summer, defunding the police was polling at 87 percent among the 37,679 Chicagoans who responded to the 2020 Budget Survey. Measures to defund the police, to some degree, were passed in other major U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, New York, and Minneapolis. In Chicago, however, Lightfoot called the demand a “nice hashtag.”

But in 2020, we saw that Chicagoans won’t allow that kind of dismissal to go unchecked. While covering the uprisings, I bore witness to the abuse of protesters at the hands of police, and even had my own run-ins with them while working. 

I watched Black organizers stare Chicago Police and government in the face and demand accountability, an undertaking that wouldn’t be as difficult if the guidelines that were put in place to ensure that accountability were delivered on time. 

Ultimately, this data analysis revealed to us not only how vital the work of demanding police accountability is, but how far we have to go until it is complete.

is a staff writer with The TRiiBE. Email him with news tips.
is a freelance data journalist who focuses on police transparency.