Following the brutal street execution of 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald last October, shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer, the city settled with the teen’s family for $5 million within six months.
But since then, we learned that police had deleted 86 minutes of security footage from a nearby Burger King that most likely recorded the killing.
And now we are learning that the dashcam footage of the killing – which has not yet been released – mysterious contains no audio.
Nothing from the five cop cars on the scene, at least one with a camera pointed directly at the shooting, which was so disturbing, the city wasted no time in settling with the family.
According to NBC Chicago:
On the night of October 20, 2014 McDonald was surrounded by approximately 10 Chicago Police Officers responding to a call of a man with a knife.
McDonald died as a result of 16 gunshots fired by one officer, according to autopsy results and the city Corporation Counsel.
The officer said he feared for his life, though attorneys for the McDonald family say the video clearly shows McDonald was moving away from the officer when the deadly shots were fired.
In a March 6 letter to the city released through a Freedom of Information Act request, attorney Jeff Neslund, who along with Michael Robbins represents the McDonald family, wrote: “The dash cam video from unit 813R…captured what took place on Pulaski, including the fatal shooting.”
“There are 5 Tahoe’s on the scene and none of the audio works as far as we know,” said Neslund in an interview. The video has not been made public.
This information released by attorneys for the family comes after a Chicago-area Burger King district manager told the press that Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at one of their restaurants which was located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old McDonald was shot.
Missing from the surveillance footage was 86 minutes of video. From 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., everything had been erased. McDonald was shot at approximately 9:50 p.m.
On the night of his death, Chicago police were called over a report of a man with a knife. The officers then followed McDonald through the Burger King parking lot. The officers claimed that McDonald “posed a serious threat to officer safety,” and one officer shot him 16 times – with nine of the rounds entering the teenagers back.
Police then reported that he had “lunged” at them with a knife.
But a witness has painted a very different story, calling the death an execution. Lawyers for the family, who have seen the video, stated it very clearly shows the young man walking away from the officers as he was shot.
“One witness, this witness told us this was an execution. That’s his word,” attorney Jeff Neslund told the local NBC affiliate.
Following the shooting, workers from Burger King reported that four to five police officers went to the restaurant and asked to view the video and were given the password to access it.
When they left three hours later, the footage was gone. It was discovered missing the next day when an investigator with the Independent Police Review Authority went to ask to view the footage.
Now, according to the lawyers who have viewed the dashcam video, the audio is mysteriously missing.
“There’s no audio so we can’t hear the number of shots,” Neslund said. “My understanding is that there are two audio microphones in every CPD Tahoe that are supposed to be charged up, in fact the officers are supposed to be wearing them clipped to their uniform. But there is no audio from any of these vehicles as far as we know.”
The dashcam begins to record audio and video as soon as an officer turns on the siren, hits a red recorder button or a large button on the microphone. NBC reports that the only way to stop the recording is “by touching the square on the screen both video and audio recording will stop,”
“The Department remains committed to technological investments that improve officer and public safety, promote transparency and strengthen accountability. In-car cameras are vital in our efforts to gather relevant evidence and assist in the investigation and resolution of officer-involved incidents. Today, almost eight hundred vehicles are equipped with in-car camera systems.
Chicago has one of the largest such deployments in the United States. The Department will continue to evaluate new technology and national best practices as it determines the possible expansion of camera systems.”
McDonald died in the hospital one hour after the incident, and the officer who killed him was placed on paid desk duty.