Cameras help confirm Scott suicide ruling

December 4, 2009 3:28:50 PM PST
Chicago police have closed the case in the death of Chicago School Board President Michael Scott.Police Supt. Jody Weis says investigators used police cameras in the city to trace Scott's last steps in the hours before his body was found in November.

Scott's death has been ruled a suicide. The medical examiner's office concluded --not long after Scott's body was found -- that he had committed suicide. Police did not dispute the finding but wanted to pursue all the investigative leads they could. They say they have done that and have now reached the same conclusion.

The finding was based on gunpowder residue tests, evidence at the scene, and what surveillance video cameras were able to capture.

"We understand [it's] hard to come to grips, but our conclusion comes after a complete and thorough investigation," Weis said.

Much of that investigation involved public surveillance cameras that recorded Michael Scott over a roughly 45-minute time period as he drove to the location along the Chicago River where he would, police say, later commit suicide.

The cameras are all linked to the city's 911 center as part of what is called Operation Virtual Shield. By entering a description of Scott's Cadillac into the system, it gave detectives video of the vehicle as Scott drove it from multiple camera positions.

The program is referred to as video analytics and has been touted for its potential as a high tech crime-fighting tool.

No camera recorded the actual suicide, and none of the video from the virtual shield cameras will be publicly released.

Lastly, police say, ballistics tests on Scott's gun and gunpowder residue on his left hand made it clear to investigators that Scott took his own life.

Police also examined Scott's final cell phone communications and say they found nothing suspicious about them.

The cameras that recorded video of Scott passing in his car show that he was alone.

The video analytics used to track Scott's car searched through many terabytes of recorded video just based on the vehicles description.


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