'Disturbing' Video Of Chicago Cop Killing A Teenager Could Go Public
By Kate Shepherd in News on Nov 13, 2015 9:37PM
graduation picture of Laquan McDonald
A disturbing video of the police-involved shooting death of a black teen on the Southwest Side could spark an uprising in Chicago if it is released to the public. 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, on the night of Oct. 20, 2014, at 41st Street and Pulaski Avenue, according to the Tribune, and one source says it is among the worst examples of police violence he's seen.
"It's worse than anything that's come out this summer on police cases anywhere," a source who seen the video told Tribune columnist John Kass.
Police were responding to a report of a man slashing tires and initially they followed McDonald carefully as he wandered around the area, according to city officials. McDonald reportedly had PCP in his system and was holding a small knife. Police called for backup and Tasers and then McDonald walked out onto Pulaski Road, as the police report goes.
Only Van Dyke opened fire and shot McDonald all over his body 16 times. Caught by a police dashboard camera, "the video is said to show the rounds hitting McDonald in the back, the legs, arms, neck and head, the bullets making the body jump again and again".
"It shocks the conscience," attorney Jeff Neslund, who represented the McDonald family, told Kass. "The video was disturbing. It was described accurately by one of the witnesses as an execution. He was on the ground, and the police officer kept shooting."
On Thursday Nov. 19, Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama is expected to rule on whether the video should be released to the public. The FBI is investigating the incident and the McDonald's family received a $5 million settlement from the city this spring.
Van Dyke, who has had 18 misconduct complaints filed against him, has been stripped of his police powers and put on desk duty but he has not been charged with any crime.
A witness who was driving his son to the hospital when he saw the shooting told Kass that he did not see McDonald lunge at VanDyke like the police union has claimed. He wasn't attacking anybody and was just trying to get away from the situation. When he turned away from the police, he fell down at the first couple shots but the cop "just emptied his gun into him," the witness said.
"It freaked me out. It freaked my son out," he said to Kass.
This Cook County medical examiner's office document shows the wounds to Laquan McDonald sustained when he was killed
The video should be released because it will reveal what really happened that night, University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman told WBBM Radio.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his administration have been fighting hard to block the release of the video. Releasing the video during an ongoing investigation is inappropriate, he said Friday at an unrelated event.
"At the appropriate time, the appropriate entities and how that video gets to be public will be handled," he told the Tribune. "There's an appropriate way to handle when videos become public, and that procedure will be followed."
The city will release the video as soon as the investigation is completed, mayoral spokesman Adam Collins told DNAinfo later on Friday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois is calling for the release of the video now, according to DNAinfo, and the witness who spoke to Kass also wants it made public.
Keeping the video private would be in the best interest of City Hall who are trying to prevent a major political fallout but not the people of Chicago, Kass argues:
But the people deserve to see what happened. And once they see it, then the people can decide what to do about it. It's their city.