The shocking and horrifying dashcam footage that revealed Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke shooting a motionless Laquan McDonald 16 times was released to the public yesterday afternoon, causing protests to erupt throughout Chicago. Today, DNA Info Chicago has published Van Dyke’s charging documents, which delineate the case against Van Dyke. They also reveal the alarming lies the Fraternal Order of Police told in order to protect Van Dyke.
The Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers—it comprises of over 325,000 members and strives to improve working conditions for officers, providing a communal voice for them. It is essentially a union for police officers, although its founder wanted to avoid that terminology.
When Van Dyke first shot McDonald in October 2014, this is the account Pat Camden, a member of the FOP, gave in a statement:
Officers got out of their car and began approaching McDonald, again telling him to drop the knife, Camden said. The boy allegedly lunged at police, and one of the officers opened fire.
McDonald was shot in the chest and taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10:42 p.m.
Camden said none of the officers who responded had a Taser to use on the teen and were trying to detain him long enough for one to arrive. He said officers were forced to defend themselves.
“When police tell you to drop a weapon, all you have to do is drop it,” Camden said.
Almost all of this is false. The charging documents contain eyewitness accounts of the shooting:
Individual A described McDonald as looking for a way to get away from police. According to Individual A, McDonald never moved toward, lunged at, or did anything threatening towards the officers before he was shot and fell to the ground. Individual A heard a pause in the shots after McDonald fell to the ground, but then heard more shots. Individual A also did not see McDonald do anything threatening while lying on the ground that would cause the officer to continue shooting him.
Individual B was a passenger in Individual A’s vehicle. Individual B saw defendant shoot McDonald who fell to the ground. There was about a four second pause when Individual B saw McDonald move “a little” while lying on the ground and then defendant fired another 5-6 rounds. It appeared to Individual B that McDonald was moving away from the defendant when defendant fired his first shot. Individual B did not see McDonald charge the officers or do anything threatening to them before he was shot.
Everything Camden said also now directly contradicts the video footage, which definitively reveals the disturbing truth:
An analysis of the video establishes that 14 to 15 seconds passed from the time defendant fired his first shot to clear visual evidence of a final shot. For approximately 13 of those seconds, McDonald is lying on the ground
According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, McDonald was shot 16 times and that the multiple gunshot wounds caused his death…Only two of these wounds can be definitively linked to the time when McDonald was standing: the right lower back, and one of the right upper leg shots.
Defendant was on the scene for less than 30 seconds before he started shooting, in addition to the fact that he starts shooting approximately six seconds after having gotten out of his car.
The video clearly does not show McDonald advancing on defendant. None of the officers have reported that they saw anything substantially different from what the video shows at the time of the first shot. None of the officers observed McDonald attempt to throw his knife at defendant, jump or lunge toward Van Dyke, raise his knife as if to stab defendant, or did anything that was obviously threatening toward defendant beyond what was depicted in the video and not responding to commands while carrying a knife.
The eyewitness account proved correct: the video corroborates everything stated by Individuals A and B, while completely dismantling Camden’s narrative. His statement given at the time of the incident is blatantly false, founded on fabrications, and concocted only in order to stop an irresponsible, reckless, racist officer from facing the consequences of his sickening actions.
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