Protests erupt in Chicago after release of police video; officer charged with murder

CHICAGO,  Protests broke out Tuesday after Chicago Police released video of the shooting of a black teen by a police officer.

Protests broke out Tuesday after Chicago Police released video of the shooting of a black teen by a police officer. Screen shot: Chicago Police Department
Protests broke out Tuesday after Chicago Police released video of the shooting of a black teen by a police officer. Screen shot: Chicago Police Department

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protesters chanted “16 shots,” “we gotta fight back” and “don’t shoot me” as theyblocked a police building. There was also another brief standoff with police at another location in the city. A few minor injuries were reported during the rallies.

The graphic dash-cam video was released Tuesday, a day ahead of a court-ordered deadline, and shows a white police officer shooting 17-year-old African-American Laquan McDonald 16 times times on Oct. 20, 2014. MacDonald later died at the hospital.

As the car with the camera arrives at the scene, McDonald is seen walking down the middle of the street, with other police cars nearby. Two officers briefly confront him. Guns are drawn.

McDonald has his left hand in his pocket and starts to move away from the two officers. McDonald then spins, falls and writhes as he is continually hit by bullets.

The city, knowing the release was coming, prepared for protests. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called for peace.

“I believe this is a moment that can build bridges of understanding rather than become a barrier of misunderstanding,” Emanuel said. “I understand that the people will be upset and will want to protest when they see this video. We as a city must rise to this moment.”

Emanuel released a statement condemning the shooting.

“Across Chicago there are thousands of police officers who protect our communities every day with the highest professional standards. As the State’s Attorney made clear, Jason Van Dyke’s actions violated those standards and also the moral standards that bind our community together,” Emanuel said in the statement. “Rather than uphold the law, he took the law into his own hands, and it’s now up to the justice system to hold him accountable.”

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy agreed that people “have a right to be angry.”

The officer who shot MacDonald, Jason Van Dyke, 37, turned himself in Tuesday and was charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.

“It is my determination that this defendant’s actions — of shooting Laquan McDonald when he did not pose an immediate threat of great bodily harm or death, and his subsequent actions of shooting Laquan McDonald while he lay on the ground after previously being struck by gunfire — were not justified and they were not a proper use of deadly force by this police officer,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said in announcing the charges.

“Maintaining public safety is my No. 1 job, and I do not want the public to view this video without knowing this very important context that with these charges we are bringing a full measure of justice that this demands,” Alvarez said.

By Shawn Price

UPI