Judge orders release of video showing fatal shooting by police officer

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Illinois: Attorney General Seeks Release of a Police Video.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Cook County judge has ordered Chicago police to release dashboard camera video of a white officer fatally shooting a black teen last year, but city attorneys said they plan to appeal the ruling.CHICAGO — A judge has ruled that police must release dashcam video showing the violent death of 17-year-old old Laquan McDonald, shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke last October. City attorneys immediately filed a motion to halt the release of the video while they appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, but the judge denied their request, noting they have time to request a stay of his ruling from the appellate court before they would otherwise have to make the video public. Police have said McDonald refused to drop a knife when officers confronted him while responding to a call about a person walking down a street with a knife.

An attorney for McDonald’s family who has seen the video says the footage shows the teen was holding a small knife and walking away from officers when one officer opened fire. The video reportedly shows McDonald carrying a knife on the southwest side of the city on Oct. 20 last year, walking as far as the width of two car lanes away from police before an officer shoots him 16 times.

Those who have seen the police dashboard video have said it’s shocking and disturbing, and some are extremely concerned about how the public will react to it, fearing it could spark unrest. If the streets explode, it will be hard for even the most skeptical observer to say it is anything but justified: McDonald never posed a serious threat to officers. Madigan’s office said the Police Department had “unsubstantiated” claims that releasing the footage to a journalist could hinder an investigation or deprive anyone of a fair trial. He’s down on the ground, and for the next 30 seconds or so, in this video, the officer just continues to shoot,” Neslund said earlier this month. “What you see are graphic puffs of smoke rising from Laquan and intermittently his body twitching, in reaction to the shots.” The city agreed to a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family even before a lawsuit was filed. I breezed through it in a conference room at the Cook County President’s Office in May, along with the 18 other autopsies detailing the deaths of those who died at the hands of the Chicago Police Department last year.

Going through them, making sure they were all there, it can be easy to forget that these were once lives and not simply stacks of paper bundled four inches high. McDonald’s autopsy tells us the following: One of Van Dyke’s bullets grazed McDonald’s head, causing a groove in his skull one-quarter of an inch deep, one and three-quarters of an inch long. The judge is expected to announce Thursday whether he will grant a Freedom of Information request and allow the video of the October 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald by Van Dyke to be made public. Another entered the right side of his chest, and a “markedly-deformed, copper-jacketed bullet” was recovered from McDonald’s torso, according to the autopsy report.

Another of the McDonald family attorneys, Jeffrey Neslund, told the Chicago Sun-Times that the jarring footage will prompt chaos—and, possibly, riots. “I met with [McDonald’s mother] and Laquan’s uncle,” Neslund said in April, “and he was really concerned. When a reporter started poking around about the missing footage, a manager at the restaurant said he didn’t realize some of the footage was going to be deleted. When pressed, IPRA released a statement: “We have no credible evidence at this time that would cause us to believe CPD purged or erased any surveillance video,” the agency told NBC Chicago. Davis, the former police commander and one of only two black supervisors at IPRA, countered that statement with statements made to him by IPRA employees at the time. “There was at least a couple of investigators at IPRA who did feel like a portion of [the security footage] was erased,” he told The Daily Beast on Tuesday. The 17-year-old boy’s death was by far the most egregious use of lethal force by Chicago police, a Daily Beast review found from autopsy reports, investigative findings from the Independent Police Review Authority, and statements from law enforcement regarding all 19 police-involved killings.

Van Dyke and four officers followed McDonald in their squad cars as he wandered, high on the PCP that was later found in an autopsy, waving a four-inch blade.

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