Chicago Chronicles:City of Chicago releases video showing white police officer fatally shooting black teen

City of Chicago releases video showing white police officer fatally shooting black teen.

Killings By Police Chicago

A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times last year
was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a
video of the killing that many people
fear could spark unrest.

City officials and community leaders have been bracing for the release of the
dash-cam video, fearing the kind of unrest that occurred in cities such as
Baltimore and Ferguson, Mo., after young black men were slain by police or died
in police custody.

Moments before the footage was made public, the mayor and the police chief
appealed for calm.

"People have a right to be angry. People have a right to protest. People have
a right to free speech. But they do not have a right to ... criminal acts,"
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.

Chicago cop charged with murder
The relevant portion of the video runs for less than 40 seconds and has no

Laquan McDonald, 17, swings into view on a four-lane street where police
vehicles are stopped in the middle of the roadway. As he jogs down the street,
he appears to pull up his pants and then slows to a brisk walk, veering away
from two officers who are emerging from a vehicle and drawing their guns.

Almost immediately, one of the officers appears to fire from close range.
McDonald spins around and crumples to the pavement. The second officer
simultaneously lowers his weapon.

The car with the camera continues to roll forward until the officers are out
of the frame. Then McDonald can be seen lying on the ground, moving
occasionally. At least two small puffs of smoke are seen coming off his body as
the officer continues firing.

In the final moments, an officer kicks something out of McDonald's hands.

Police have said the teen had a knife. Cook County State's Attorney Anita
Alvarez said Tuesday that a three-inch knife with its blade folded into the
handle was recovered from the scene.

Shortly after the video's release, protesters began marching through streets.
Several hundred people blocked traffic on the near West Side. Some circled
police cars in an intersection and chanted "16 shots."

"I'm so hurt and so angry," said Jedidiah Brown, a South Side activist and
pastor who had just seen the video. "I can feel pain through my body."

 Fred Hampton Jr. argues with a television reporter
during a vigil for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot and killed
Oct. 20, 2014 in Chicago. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)

Groups of demonstrators, at times numbering in the hundreds, marched through
streets in the downtown and near South Side areas, gathering at one point
outside the police department's District 1 headquarters.

Later, along Michigan Avenue, at least one person was detained, which led to
a tense moment as protesters tried to prevent police from taking him away. Some
threw plastic water bottles at officers and sat behind a police vehicle,
refusing to move. Officers pulled them away, and the vehicle sped off.

The biggest group had mostly dissipated by 11 p.m., with a few dozen
returning to the District 1 building. Another group of at least 50 people
briefly blocked a busy expressway before walking toward a lakefront park. A few
yelled at police officers, others chanted as they blocked a street.

City officials spent months arguing that the footage could not be made public
until the conclusion of several investigations. After the judge's order, the
investigations were quickly wrapped up and a charge announced.

Alvarez defended the 13 months it took to charge officer Jason Van Dyke. She
said cases involving police present "highly complex" legal issues and that she
would rather take the time to get it right than "rush to judgment."

Alvarez said concern about the impending release prompted her to move up the
announcement of the murder charge.

"It is graphic. It is violent. It is chilling," she said. "To watch a
17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing. I have
absolutely no doubt that this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans."

But she insisted that she made a decision "weeks ago" to charge Van Dyke and
the video's ordered release did not influence that.

Some community leaders said there was no doubt that Alvarez only brought
charges because of the order to release the video from Oct. 20, 2014.

"This is a panicky reaction to an institutional crisis within the
criminal-justice system," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said he hoped to see
"massive" but peaceful demonstrations.

Months after McDonald's death, the city agreed to a $5 million US settlement
with his family, even before relatives filed a lawsuit.

 Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, left, and Police
Superintendent Garry McCarthy are appealing for calm following the release of a
video that shows a police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
(Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press)

The city's hurried attempts to defuse tensions also included a community
meeting, official statements of outrage at the officer's conduct and an abrupt
announcement Monday night that another officer who has been the subject of
protests for months might now be fired.

"You had this tape for a year, and you are only talking to us now because you
need our help keeping things calm," the Rev. Corey Brooks said of Monday night's
community gathering with the mayor.

Shot at least twice in his back

An autopsy report showed that McDonald was shot at least twice in his back
and PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, was found in his system.

At the time of his death, police were responding to complaints about someone
breaking into cars and stealing radios.

Van Dyke, who was denied bond on Tuesday, was the only officer of the several
who were on the scene to open fire. Alvarez said the officer emptied his 9 mm
pistol of all 16 rounds and that he was on the scene for just 30 seconds before
he started shooting. She said he opened fire just six seconds after getting out
of his vehicle and kept firing even though McDonald dropped to the ground after
the initial shots.

At Tuesday's hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Bill Delaney said the
shooting lasted 14 or 15 seconds and that McDonald was on the ground for 13 of
those seconds.

Van Dyke's attorney, Dan Herbert, maintains his client feared for his life
and acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story. Van Dyke,
stripped of his police powers, has been assigned to desk duty since the

Herbert said the case needs to be tried in a courtroom and "can't be tried in
the streets, can't be tried on social media and can't be tried on Facebook."

Chicago police also moved late Monday to discipline a second officer who shot
and killed an unarmed black woman in 2012.

McCarthy recommended firing officer Dante Servin for the shooting of
22-year-old Rekia Boyd, saying Servin showed "incredibly poor judgment." A judge
acquitted Servin of involuntary manslaughter and other charges last April. 

Killings By Police Chicago

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