Officials, Activists Question Chicago Police Investigation

26 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

AP News in Brief at 6:03 a.m. EST.

CHICAGO—Some city aldermen and civil rights activists are questioning why it took more than a year for a prosecutor to file murder charges against a white police officer accused of shooting a black teenager 16 times, after a graphic video of the incident was made public this week. The footage is taken from the white officer’s police car as he pulled through a Burger King parking lot and McDonald, 17, bounded out in front of him before running down the road.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on Tuesday charged Officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder in the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, hours before the city released the police dashboard-camera video to comply with a court order. About two dozen protesters gathered outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office a day after authorities released the graphic video, footage that President Barack Obama said “deeply disturbed” him.

Soon after this, Van Dyke emptied an entire magazine into the young man with most of the 16 shots fired at point-blank range as he lay motionless on the ground. Protesters in Chicago have likened the Laquan McDonald killing to that of Michael Brown, the black teenager shot dead by a white policeman in Ferguson, Missouri last year, triggering 15 months of demonstrations in major US cities over perceived police brutality against black men.

Investigation of the case comes amid a national debate on race and police tactics sparked by a series of high-profile killings of unarmed black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement in several U.S. cities in the past two years, leading to widespread demonstrations and some violent unrest. Footage from another dashcam that was also obtained by ABC 7 shows McDonald in the middle of the road and struggling to stay alive after being shot as paramedics arrive on the scene. Chicago police initially said that McDonald was high on the hallucinogen PCP, acting erratically, and then lunged at officers with a knife before being shot 16 times in October 2014. Small groups of demonstrators gathered again Wednesday to protest the death of McDonald, and they urged supporters to join them in trying to shut down Chicago’s famous Michigan Avenue shopping district during the Black Friday shopping bonanza. Turkey released audio recordings of what it says are the Turkish military’s warnings to the pilot of the Russian plane that was shot down at the border with Syria.

Alvarez, a Democrat who is expected to face a tough re-election fight next year, has defended the timing of the charges, saying she decided to charge the officer weeks ago but moved up the public announcement because of the imminent release of the videotape. The recordings, made available to The Associated Press on Thursday, indicate that the plane was warned several times that it was approaching Turkey’s airspace and asked to change course. She noted that federal investigators were also probing the shooting and hadn’t decided what, if any, action they would take. “While it would seem to some that the 12 months of investigation with our federal partners has taken too long, the investigation of police shootings and misconduct are highly complex matters that carry with them very unique legal issues,” Ms. The Tribune also said that, like the original video made public, the new tapes all lack any discernible audio that should have been included – a shortcoming police have previously attributed to unspecified technical problems. Nairobi police say an estimated 300,000 people attended Pope Francis’ first public Mass in Africa, far fewer than the 1.4 million Kenyan authorities had predicted.

Prosecutors said Van Dyke, who joined Chicago police in 2001, opened fire just 30 seconds after his vehicle pulled up to the scene with McDonald and six seconds after stepping out of it. The additional videos were furnished to the Tribune by Mayor Rham Emanuel’s Law Department under an open-records request for footage from all eight police vehicles present at the shooting. It distorts images.’ Van Dyke’s wife Tiffany had established a Go Fund Me page to help pay for her husband’s defence and raised some $10,000 in a few hours, but the page was later removed and the donations returned. In a Facebook post, the president said he is asking Americans to “keep those who’ve suffered tragic loss in our thoughts and prayers” this Thanksgiving “and to be thankful for the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who protect our communities with honor.” Lamon Reccord yells at a Chicago police officer, “Shoot me 16 times,” during a march through Chicago on Wednesday. (Charles Rex Arbogast, The Associated Press) Video footage of police shootings—from dashboard cameras or body cameras to footage shot on mobile phones by citizens—has spurred more and faster prosecutions of police this year, according to experts.

A group of between 100 and 200 protesters began a march at the start of the evening rush-hour in Chicago’s busy downtown area on Wednesday, and were still on the streets more than five hours later despite the onset of rain. The fatal shooting put Van Dyke’s record in the force under scrutiny, as it emerged that he had at least 20 complaints filed against him but was never disciplined.

In April, a white South Carolina police officer, Michael Slager, was arrested and charged with murder within days after a citizen video emerged that showed him shooting an unarmed black man, Walter Scott, who was running away from him at the time. The Argentine pope, who has never been to Africa before, was treated to ululating Swahili singers, swaying nuns, Maasai tribesmen and traditional dancers at the Mass on the grounds of the University of Nairobi. The latest case has been particularly painful for Edward Nance, who won a US$350,000 civil judgment for injuries sustained when he was arrested by Van Dyke and his partner in 2007.

Van Dyke began his incarceration under protective custody at a hospital facility segregated from the general population of Cook County Jail, the county sheriff’s office said. On Wednesday protesters began to get a bit more confrontational than the previous night, and in one instance ripped all the lights off the city’s Christmas tree in Millennium Park.

On his first full day in Kenya, Francis received a raucous welcome from the crowd as he zoomed around in his open-sided popemobile, some 10,000 police providing security. Van Dyke was a member of the city’s controversial and now-disbanded Tactical Response Unit which patrolled high-crime areas when he pulled Mr Nance over because his car did not have a front license plate. Some protesters also tried to storm Trump Towers in Chicago at one point, screaming ‘F*** Donald Trump,’ though the doors to the building were closed by the visibly nervous doormen before there was any incident. Mr Nance — who worked at a cable company and as a high-school sports referee — told investigators that Van Dyke’s partner slammed his head on the hood of his car and that Van Dyke violently handcuffed him and tossed him into a squad car.

The Independent Police Review Board dismissed the complaint because there were “no independent witnesses” and “no way to determine” the cause of Mr Nance’s injuries, local media reported. In his homily, Francis appealed for traditional family values, calling for Kenyans to “resist practices which foster arrogance in men, hurt or demean women, don’t care for the elderly and threaten the life of the innocent unborn.” MAJURO ATOLL, Marshall Islands (AP) — Valentino Keimbar hides from the intense heat in the shade of a breadfruit tree, waiting for his basketball game to begin. Judge Peggy Chiampas said the state’s attorney’s office recommended dropping the charge against 22-year-old Malcolm London and told London he was free to go. But he fears hotter weather and rising seas may soon force everyone to go, and that many will choose an unlikely place 6,000 miles (nearly 10,000 kilometers) away: Springdale, Arkansas.

For more than three decades, Marshallese have moved in the thousands to the landlocked Ozark Mountains for better education, jobs and health care, thanks to an agreement that lets them live and work in the U.S. Authorities in Chicago, a city of 2.7 million people, had girded for the possibility of civil unrest on a scale seen in cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, but the city remained mostly tranquil by Wednesday night. Five people were arrested late on Tuesday in mostly peaceful rallies, and a new round of protests on Wednesday at Chicago’s criminal courthouse and City Hall were sparsely attended. The 40 seconds of dashcam video released Tuesday shows McDonald, who was armed with a small knife, walking away from two officers who have their guns drawn. Scientists who contributed to the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate global sea levels have risen by about 7.5 inches (19 centimeters) since 1900.

The common assumption that melting glaciers and ice sheets would cause a uniform rise worldwide — much like filling a bathtub with more water — is incorrect, according to the panel. KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — With Washington set to send billions of dollars in fresh aid to Afghanistan despite the military drawdown, the U.S. official in charge of auditing assistance programs says “it’s not too late” to address the fraud and mismanagement that has bedeviled the 14-year effort to rebuild the country. Maki Haberfeld, chairwoman of the Department of Law, Police Science and Criminal Justice Administration at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, said the shooting didn’t appear to be justified because the teen wasn’t approaching the officer. The military intervention launched after the Sept. 11 attacks has cost the United States $1 trillion, including some $110 billion in aid aimed at rebuilding one of the poorest, most violent and most corrupt countries on earth.

The plea was echoed by attorneys for the McDonald family, who called for ‘calm in Chicago’. ‘No one understands the anger more than us, but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful. The New York Times obtained a copy of some of the complaints that have been filed against Van Dyke over the years, including that he used racial slurs, choked a suspect and once pointed a gun at a suspect for no reason. City officials have said there are no known, credible threats against New York following the recent attacks in Paris and a video purportedly produced by ISIS that contained video clips of Times Square. My family is in need of your help very quickly. ‘My husband is having a bond hearing and if we do not raise the money he will be detained on 11/24/15. But Police Commissioner William Bratton said more than 2,500 officers will be stationed along the parade route for the Thanksgiving Day festivities — the largest number of officers the department has ever assigned to the event. “I think people are coming here from all over the city, all over the metropolitan region, all over the country to be a part of this parade,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a news conference Wednesday night. “We cannot let the terrorists succeed at psychological warfare. …

With the holidays approaching our husband and father needs to be home with his family.’ A spokesperson said all money had been refunded as the site prohibits any and all fundraising for the ‘defense of anyone alleged to be involved in criminal activity.’ They’re doing what they do to try and create fear, to try and change us.” Customs officials along the Russian border are scrutinizing Turkish goods due to “various reasons” including a possible terrorist threat, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

A statement issued by the Georgian finance ministry’s excise service said the trucks which can’t get cross into Russia drive back to Azerbaijan and Turkey while hundreds are stranded in the neutral zone between Russia and Georgia. BOSTON (AP) — John Howland may not be as famous as William Bradford, John Carver and Myles Standish, notable passengers on the Mayflower that landed in Massachusetts in 1620.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans will sit down for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday unaware that they owe their very existence to Howland, who almost never even made it to the New World. His remarkable story is the subject of a new children’s book, “The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower, or John Howland’s Good Fortune,” by Irish illustrator and author P.J.

Bush — as well as former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin; poets Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow; actors Alec Baldwin, Humphrey Bogart, and Christopher Lloyd; Mormon church founder Joseph Smith; and child care guru Dr.

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