Chicago Gets It Right—Cop Who Shot Teen 16 Times Faces Murder Charge

Priyanka Prasad
New dash cam footage ostensibly led to Jason Van Dkye's charge of first-degree murder.

Laquan Mcdonald and Jason Van Dyke


Chilling dash cam footage of white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times has been made public despite attempts by police and city officials to halt its release. 

Warning footage is graphic

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has urged the city to embrace peaceful protest as Chicago braces for potential unrest in light of the footage's release.

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has just been charged with first-degree murder after he shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald sixteen times in a Burger King parking lot in October of 2014.

According to the Chicago Tribune, it is the first time a Chicago officer “has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years.”

Witnesses of the incident state that McDonald was unaggressive, nonconfrontational, and had his back toward the police when the shooting began. He was only visible to officers for approximately thirty seconds before they opened gunfire.

Van Dyke has been the recipient of 18 past complaints (none of which were followed up on), yet his attorney maintains that the officer was fearful for his life. He claims that McDonald, who was on PCP, had a knife, with which he lunged at officers when they cornered him and he did not follow their instructions.

Chicago’s City Council had already filed a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family before these charges were announced.

A graphic video exposing the escalation of the incident has been viewed by attorneys for both Van Dyke and the McDonald family—according to the Chicago-Sun Times, the footage reveals the disturbing reality of the occurrence:

“He is walking. … 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. McDonald falls. 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.”

Officers allegedly keep shooting, even as McDonald was in fetal position.

The court has mandated that this video, which will undoubtedly cause public outrage, be released to the public—the deadline for this is tomorrow afternoon. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether Van Dyke will be convicted.

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