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Chicago's Ex-Top Cop Says He Wouldn't Have Released Laquan McDonald Shooting Video

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 19, 2016 7:44PM

While speaking on the record at a City Club of Chicago luncheon this afternoon, former CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy told the crowd that he would not have released the video of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald had it been up to him. He said that because it was part of an ongoing investigation, the footage should have remained out of public view.

“If I was asked, and I was not, I would have recommended to not release the Laquan McDonald” video, “because the case was still pending,” McCarthy said.

He also partially defended the officers who are accused of having “gone fetal.” “Why would you stop anyone if you’re a police officer today in Chicago?” McCarthy asked. “Officers are getting mixed messages on how to do their job.” According to analysis by FiveThirtyEight, there was a sharp decline in arrest following the release of the video.

Given that Mayor Rahm Emanuel continues to face mountains of political fallout from releasing the video as late as he did—over a year after the shooting, just as officer Jason Van Dyke was to be charged with murder—reaction expectedly ranged from alarmed to indignant.

Video of the speech, which can be seen above, is a curious watch. At points, McCarthy does indeed acknowledge the legitimate grounds for distrust toward police that exist in black communities. “We have a well-deserved bad reputation in the African-American community... One of the things I’ve done is acknowledged the history,” he said, saying that white police officers were guilty of having enforced segregationist laws.

But he nonetheless concludes that making the McDonald video public would not be in any way corrective. “Just because people want it, doesn't mean it's a good idea,” he said. “Releasing videos isn't going to build trust.”

McDonald was shot 16 times in October 2014. Widespread protests did indeed follow after the dashcam footage was made public, of course—but it was the contents of the video and delayed release that sparked outrage, not the release itself. Video appears to show McDonald walking away from police as before he is fired upon.

[H/T Sun-Times]