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Chicago Cop Could Be Indicted Over Fatal Shooting Of Unarmed Black Teen

By aaroncynic in News on Nov 23, 2015 10:14PM

This Cook County medical examiner's office document shows the wounds to Laquan McDonald sustained when he was killed

An indictment for the Chicago Police officer who shot Laquan McDonald, an unarmed black teenager, 16 times could be handed down on Tuesday.

According to CBS2, anonymous sources “close to the investigation” are saying that, while the charges are still unknown, officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed McDonald last October, could be charged with a crime as early as Tuesday. The Sun-Times reports criminal charges are expected and a murder charge was allegedly “on the table.”

The news comes as debate increases surrounding the release of the dashboard camera footage of McDonald’s death. Last week, a judge ordered the video released by or before Nov. 25. In an interview with John Kass, attorney Jeff Neslund said the footage was shocking:

"It shocks the conscience. 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."

While details on what, if any, demonstrations might take place after the video’s release are basically non-existent, city officials and plenty of media outlets have been feverishly making comparisons to demonstrations that happened in Ferguson and “bracing” for what can be referred to as civil unrest. Last week, officials began ratcheting up familiar rhetoric about demonstrations. “Demonstrations are one thing; violent behavior are completely different,” Police Union president Dean Angelo told CBS, who referenced the 2012 protests during the NATO summit. “It’s the violence I’m concerned about. It’s outside people that I’m concerned about, people who come in for the express purpose of these disturbances.”

On Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel set up a meeting with ministers and some community activists to address potential reactions to the video. "We are assuming he is going to ask us to call for calm," the Rev. Marshall Hatch told ABC7. Rev. Corey Brooks, pastor of New Beginnings Church told CBS:

“Getting ahead of it, and making sure that we present to the mayor what we expect to happen, I think that’s critical if we’re going to prevent violence from happening in our neighborhoods.”

Other groups and activists, however, declined to meet with the mayor at a closed door meeting, saying they have little faith in his 11th hour offer to meeting with community members and that they instead would reach out to those impacted by “the occupation of militarized police and community disinvestment.”

“We have no faith that the same Mayor that allowed people to starve for 34 days over a school, will be accountable to black people just because we respond calmly to a documented hate crime committed by a Chicago police officer,” wrote the group The group Black Youth Project 100 said in a press release.

Activists and groups are also divided over the release to the video, and balancing the need for accountability and transparency with putting yet another death of a person of color on display. “I worry a lot about these videos, because we have seen a lot of them and they get consumed [like entertainment],” Page May, an activist with the group We Charge Genocide, told the Chicago Reporter.

Michael Robbins, an attorney who represented the McDonald family during settlement hearings in which the city ultimately ended up paying out $5 million, also said the family doesn’t want the video released, telling Chicago Tonight:

“Laquan's mother doesn't want to see the video. She's not interested in having the video out. We've explained to her that we have a copy of the video-we obtained a copy of the video through service of process-but it's not our video; we can't control it. We agreed not to release our copy."

Brandon Smith, the freelance journalist who sued the city for the video, vexed over the issue as well, saying:

"I believe that the family has a right to not have their son become a poster child for fighting against police brutality. But then there's also this question of, do we as a society have the right or the responsibility to hold accountable the people who police our streets?”

The video is scheduled to be released at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the Sun-Times.