Bodycam Footage of Rock Island Police Shooting of DeShawn Tatum in Illinois

Published on April 30, 2021 by

Rock Island, Illinois — On March 31, 2021, local law enforcement received a social media video clip that depicted Deshawn Tatum waving a suspected firearm in Rock Island. Tatum is heard on the video making threats against law enforcement, and a white police SUV car is seen behind Tatum. At that same time, law enforcement were aware that Mr. Tatum had outstanding felony warrants, including a federal warrant for felon in possession of a firearm and a county warrant for criminal damage to property and fleeing & eluding.

On the following day, April 1, 2021, officers from the Rock Island Police Department were conducting surveillance hoping to apprehend Tatum on the outstanding warrants. Officers Lawler and Costas, both wearing body-worn cameras that were active, arrived at the Chippiannock Cemetery shortly after 6:15p.m on April 1st and observed Tatum standing with a group of people.

Lawler and Costas walked towards Tatum calling his name, and Tatum is seen running across the cemetery and dropping a black bag, which is picked up by Costas. Lawler and Costas both chase Tatum on foot across the cemetery, then west on 12th Street in Rock Island. Officers are heard yelling for Deshawn Tatum to “drop the gun” multiple times. A gun is later found lying on the ground in the path of the foot chase. An officer’s squad camera captures the moment Tatum runs by and throws the gun on the ground.

The foot pursuit to apprehend Tatum continued onto the next block until Tatum turned south towards the Chicken Shack gas station on 11th Street. A white Chrysler 300 is seen parked in front of the Chicken Shack and a female is opening the driver’s side door when surveillance captures Tatum push the female aside and get inside the driver’s seat. At that same time, Officer Scully, dressed in plain clothes and driving an unmarked car, drives into the gas station along with Officer Waddle in his squad.

Both officers exit their vehicles and run to the driver’s side with their weapons drawn and shout commands for Tatum to get out of the vehicle. Officer Lawler is seen approaching the vehicle from behind and walks to the passenger side with his gun drawn and yells for Tatum to get out. Both Waddle and Scully are seen trying to remove Tatum from the driver’s seat when the white car suddenly accelerates at a high rate of speed in reverse. Waddle and Scully are seen being dragged and appear under the driver’s side of the car when it ultimately collides into the gas station building with bricks landing on the trunk.

A gunshot is seen coming out of the passenger side window towards Officer Costas, who is standing outside of the vehicle, and Officer Scully and Lawler are seen firing at Tatum, who is still in the driver’s seat. Officers assist Waddle, who is picked up off the ground with blood coming down his face, and Scully reaches in the driver’s seat to retrieve a firearm— presumably Waddle’s duty weapon that he lost control of during the dragging and collision. Another officer arrives on scene and assists the officers in immediately giving CPR to Tatum, who has been brought to the ground next to the car. Officer Costas is assisting with CPR but can be seen stumbling and wiping blood off his face as well.

Within several minutes, a large crowd gathers at the scene and attempts to get in the officers’ way. Other officers arrive to assist with crowd control. Tatum is given CPR continuously for seven minutes until paramedics are able to get into the area and transport him to the hospital. Deshawn Tatum was transported to Unity Point/Trinity West and was pronounced deceased by Deputy Coroner Mark Moore shortly thereafter. All four officers involved were transported to Unity Point for medical evaluations and/or treatment and then placed on administrative leave.

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