Why the city doesn’t want video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting released
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The city does not want you to see video of the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
Attorney Jeffrey Neslund is barred from releasing the dash-cam video he obtained from the city under conditions of a $5 million settlement expected to be approved Wednesday by the Chicago City Council.
But Neslund described the images to me.
Laquan McDonald, 17, is walking west in the middle of Pulaski Road at 40th Street. He has a knife in his right hand.
He is not running.
He is not lunging.
He is walking.
Two Chicago Police officers jump out of a Tahoe with their guns drawn.
McDonald is still walking west toward the sidewalk with a full lane of traffic separating him from one of the officers.
When the officer begins shooting, the first shots spin McDonald around. The officer continues to fire from a distance of between 12 and 15 feet.
The only movement is the puffs of smoke coming from the teen’s torso and his head.
The police officer comes into view and kicks the knife out of the boy’s right hand.
Neslund and his partner, Michael D. Robbins, represent McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter.
“I certainly expect that the officer will be indicted, and not just the officer, but any officer, supervisor or lieutenant who took part in covering this up and justifying what cannot be justified,” Neslund told me.
“This was an execution of a young man that should have been — and could have been — avoided,” he said.
The officer involved in the shooting was stripped of his police powers and put on desk duty. The Chicago Police Department declined Tuesday to confirm the officer’s name or race.
Meanwhile, Neslund said other police personnel should be disciplined for allegedly trying to thwart the investigation into McDonald’s death.
“Chicago detectives went in [Burger King] the next morning without a warrant, and 86 minutes of surveillance footage from all the cameras within Burger King were removed from the computer’s hard drive,” Neslund alleged.
A spokesman for the Chicago Police Department News Affairs did not respond to my request for comments on this latest allegation.
According to Neslund, the dash-cam video has not been aired because of the fear of violent protests.
“I agonized over this. I really wanted to let it go viral, but how would that affect the city of Chicago?” the lawyer asked.
“Ultimately, the more I thought about it, the more I decided against it. Yes, it was a huge bargaining chip in the negotiations, but I didn’t want that on my conscience.”
McDonald’s mother has not seen the video and does not want it released publicly, Neslund said.
“I met with her and Laquan’s uncle, and he was really concerned. He was afraid he would see their neighborhood burned,” the lawyer said.
Yet none of us can hide.
Indeed, it is eerily ironic this case is unfolding in Chicago — the city where Mamie Till Mobley made the ultimate sacrifice by allowing the world to see what hatred did to her son.
A young black male unjustifiably killed by police is the Emmett Till of our time.