Judge Forces Chicago To Release Video Of White Cop Killing Black Teen Laquan McDonald

| by Michael Allen
Chicago Police Laquan McDonaldChicago Police Laquan McDonald

The City of Chicago released a police dashcam video (below) on Nov. 24 of the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a black teen, from Oct. 20, 2014.

The city had refused to release the video for more than a year, but were forced to do so after a judge ordered it in response to a lawsuit by independent journalist Brandon Smith, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel opposed releasing the video as recently as Nov. 14 because the FBI is still investigating the incident, noted NBC Chicago. However, Emanuel does not represent the FBI, and has no jurisdiction over the federal agency.

After losing to Smith in court on the taxpayer's dime, Emanuel lectured Chicago taxpayers on Nov. 24: “It is now the time to come together as one city, show respect for one another," notes The New York Times.

The video was released just hours after Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the death of McDonald.

The October incident began when police responded to a call about a man with a knife trying to break into vehicles. McDonald, who was reportedly carrying a folding knife, was told to drop it by police. McDonald refused to do so, and fled by walking and/or jogging. Police followed him, and called for back up.

The video begins after six police officers have followed McDonald onto a multi-lane street. McDonald walks past police, who get out of their cars. Moments later, McDonald is gunned down, and collapses on the right side of the street. Several more police officers arrive, but do not render aid to the wounded teen.

Prosecutors claim that Van Dyke had been on the scene for less than 30 seconds when he started firing, and 13 seconds of the actual shooting happened when McDonald was on the ground.

Van Dyke, who reportedly fired 16 shots at McDonald, is currently being held in jail without bail.

McDonald allegedly beat on the windshield of a police car and punctured its front tire with his knife, according to city officials, but this is not shown on the video.

McDonald's family, who did not want the video released, said in a public statement: “No one understands the anger more than us, but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful."

Dan Herbert, a lawyer for Van Dyke, told the media during a press conference on Nov. 20 that Van Dyke feared for his safety at the time of the shooting. Federal charges could also be filed against Van Dyke per the FBI's investigation.

The City of Chicago agreed to pay the McDonald family $5 million in April before the family ever filed a lawsuit.

In May 2015, NBC Chicago reported that a Burger King manager, Jay Darshane, claimed that police deleted his store's surveillance footage of the incident (video below).

McDonald family attorneys claimed the teen was followed by police through the Burger King parking lot, and shot less than 100 yards from the fast-food eatery.

Darshane said that four or five cops entered the restaurant, asked to look at the video, asked for the password to the surveillance equipment and worked on it for three hours.

The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) requested to view the Burger King video the next day, but found that 86 minutes were gone.

In spite of the obvious edit or erasure, IPRA cleared the police: "We have no credible evidence at this time that would cause us to believe CPD purged or erased any surveillance video."

IPRA also ruled that the police shooting was justified: "No weapon was found on or near the Subject so it was surmised that a civilian had removed the gun."


Sources: NBC Chicago (2), The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal / Photo Credit: Chicago Police Department Screenshot