Man killed by CPD while stabbing a victim in front of officers had been ordered to drop his knife, CPD, COPA say. His family disagrees.

CHICAGO — The office responsible for investigating shootings by Chicago police officers confirmed on Thursday that the man shot and killed by police this week ignored their commands to drop a knife and was in the process of stabbing a victim repeatedly when the officers opened fire.

COPA, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, made those revelations in a statement citing preliminary information. The Chicago Police Department provided a similar accounting of the incident on Tuesday.

Tracey Watson, 35, was killed, and the man he was stabbing was injured by police gunfire in the 300 block of South Cicero around 11:10 p.m. on Monday, officials said. CPD said officers saw Watson attacking a man in the street and ordered him to drop a knife. Watson ignored the police commands and began stabbing the victim in front of the officers, according to CPD.

COPA said police body cameras recorded the incident.

On Wednesday, Watson’s family spoke to the media, claiming that he was defending himself and that the police did not tell him to drop his weapon.

“My cousin said they never said ‘drop the knife’ or nothing,” Watson’s cousin told ABC7. “He said they didn’t hear none of that.”

COPA offered a different version of events in its statement: “The officers exited their vehicle and gave verbal commands to the individual to drop their weapon. The individual failed to comply with the commands, proceeded to stab the victim repeatedly and two officers discharged their firearms, striking both the individual and victim.”

Watson had a significant arrest record and was charged with attempted robbery of a victim near Millennium Park last May. He eventually pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of aggravated assault. At the time, prosecutors said he had three felony and seven misdemeanor convictions in his background.

Civilian Office of Police Accountability statement (May 30, 2024)

Chicago Police Department statement (May 28, 2024)

Preliminary Statement on Police-Involved Shooting in the 300 block of Cicero

CHICAGO – On Monday, May 27, 2024, at approximately 11:10 p.m., Chicago Police officers assigned to the Area Four Priority Response Team, were on routine patrol in the 300 block of S. Cicero Ave. (15th) District., when they observed a male attempting to stab a male in the street. Officers ordered the offender to drop the weapon and attempted to de-escalate the situation, but the offender continued the attack. The offender failed to comply with officer’s directions, at which time the officers discharged their weapons, striking the offender. During the incident the victim was also struck by gunfire. Officers immediately rendered aid to the offender and the victim. The offender was transported to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was later pronounced. The male victim was transported to Stroger hospital and is listed in critical condition. Two officers were transported to a nearby hospital for observation. The Investigative Response Team is currently on the scene investigating.

Currently, the specifics of this incident, including the comprehensive use of force investigation, are being investigated by the Civilian Office of Police Accountability with the full cooperation of the Chicago Police Department.

The Officer(s) involved will be placed on routine administrative duties for a minimum period of 30 days. This matter remains under investigation and all further inquiries can be directed to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability at (312) 746-3609.

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