A Cook County judge has ruled that the Chicago Police Department should make public by Nov. 25 a dashboard video of a white police officer shooting an African-American teen 16 times.
The video shows the officer repeatedly firing into Laquan McDonald’s body on Oct. 20, 2014, even as five other responding officers show restraint.
The city has argued against releasing the video, with Mayor Emanuel recently making that point again, given the federal investigation of the shooting. After the judge’s ruling, the city filed an emergency motion to stay the judge’s order pending an appeal.
“You have, obviously a [federal] investigation. And you never release a video while that investigation is going on,” the mayor said. “There’s an appropriate way to handle when videos become public and that procedue will be followed.”
The ruling comes in response to a Freedom of Information Act request made by a freelance journalist.
The attorney for a Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black teenager has said he’s concerned for the safety of the officer if the dash camera video of the incident is released.
Dan Herbert says in this “day and age” there’s the possibility that someone could try to harm Officer Jason Van Dyke because they don’t understand the context in which the shooting occurred.
Earlier this year, the City Council agreed to a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family—even before a lawsuit had been filed.
The incident started when a man called 911 to report that a knife-wielding offender had threatened him and was attempting to break into vehicles in an Archer Heights trucking yard at 41st and Kildare.
Two police officers responded to the call and found McDonald about a block away holding a knife in his right hand, Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton said at the time of the settlement.
When the teenager was ordered to drop the knife, he ignored the demand and kept walking along 40th Street toward Pulaski away from the officers.
Patton then described how one of the officers followed McDonald on foot “kind of beside” the teenager while the other officer followed behind in a marked squad car and called a dispatcher to request a back-up unit with a Taser.
The slow pursuit continued until McDonald neared Pulaski, potentially endangering civilians. That’s when the officer in the squad car pulled in front of the teenager to block his path.
According to Patton, McDonald responded by using the knife to puncture one of the squad car’s front tires and struck the windshield with a knife before continuing through a Burger King parking lot and onto Pulaski.
By that point, two additional squad cars reported to the scene, one of them equipped with a dashboard camera that recorded the deadly shooting. The squad car with the camera followed behind McDonald.
The other squad car pulled up beside, then in front of the teenager and both officers jumped out with their guns drawn. One of those two officers then opened fire and shot McDonald 16 times, all of it captured on videotape.
The shooting officer contends that McDonald was moving toward him and that he opened fire to protect himself.