The long-awaited video has finally been released and it’s not pretty, showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was nowhere near Chicago police when one cop opened fire and shot him 16 times.
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke then walked up to him and continued to shoot after the teenager had collapsed on the street.
Initially, police claimed that McDonald had “lunged” at Van Dyke with a knife, but the knife is barely visible in the video.
But what is visible is that McDonald never lunged.
And just to make sure that fact never came out, Chicago police went to a nearby Burger King and deleted surveillance footage that captured the incident.
Earlier today, Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder and is being held without bond, the first Chicago police officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting.
Here is his mugshot. His attorney is still claiming that he was in fear for his life.
Here is McDonald’s autopsy, which determined he was on PCP at the time.
Meanwhile, city officials are preparing for the worst, expecting civil unrest and riots.
But perhaps they should not have waited 400 days to release the video.
However, Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez insisted they needed that much time to investigate, probably because they were trying to find an angle that would back up Van Dyke’s assertions that the teen lunged at him with a knife.
This is how the Chicago Tribune first reported the story last year:
Officers remained in their car and followed McDonald as he walked south on Pulaski Road. More officers arrived and police tried to box the teen in with two squad cars, Camden said. McDonald punctured one of the squad car’s front passenger-side tires and damaged the front windshield, police and Camden said.
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. He lived in the 500 block of North Springfield Avenue, about 5 miles from where he was shot.
Camden said a knife was recovered from the scene. A statement from Police News Affairs said no officers were injured.
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.
They may have been spending all this time looking for the part where McDonald damaged a police car with his knife.
This is how the Chicago Tribune is reporting it today:
At bond court, prosecutors said Van Dyke opened fire six seconds after exiting his squad car as McDonald was walking away from him at 41st Street and Pulaski Road.
Van Dyke then fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire, prosecutors said at bond court.
Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Van Dyke held without bail until the judge can view the video Monday.
“I believe it’s pertinent for a bond hearing,” Panarese said of the video. “I’m sorry, but I’m holding you no bail until Monday.”
Clad in a brown sweatshirt, a white shirt and bluejeans, Van Dyke showed no emotion as he was led from the courtroom in custody.
Prosecutors sought to have the veteran officer held without bail until his trial. But Van Dyke’s lawyer, Daniel Herbert, objected, saying the officer was not a risk to flee.
“We believe we have a valid defense in this case,” Herbert said.
After court, Herbert, who has previously said Van Dyke feared for his life, questioned the filing of first-degree murder charges.
“Despite what you heard in that courtroom, this is not a murder case,” he told reporters.
But it’s not necessarily what was said in court that is damaging. It what is seen in the video, which was only released because a judge ordered its release after a journalist filed a lawsuit.
And the only reason the journalist began looking into it was because a whistleblower within the city began talking, accusing the cops of lying, according to Chicago Reporter.
The city has already paid McDonald’s family $5 million, probably figuring it would no longer need to address the issue.
But Van Dyke was a walking time bomb, racking up at least 18 complaints against him in the past, including for excessive force and using racial slurs against black citizens, has been on paid desk duty since the shooting.
Earlier today, Chicago police announced they will no longer be paying him.
His wife set up a Go Fund Me page, which raised more than $10,000 for his legal defense, but Go Fund Me removed the page, according to DNA Info.
Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets, chanting “16 shots,” according to the New York Times.
Below are four videos. The top video begins right before the shooting. The second video is more extended, showing the officer driving to the scene.
And the third video is a news report about how Chicago police deleted surveillance video from a local Burger King and the fourth video is from a protest Tuesday night.
The release of the video caused some discomfort over at the police friendly Facebook page, Police One, who edited their description of the video to fit the officer’s narrative.
The editing did not go unnoticed by one of their readers, who accused them of being “antipolice.”
Below are the screenshots of the comment along with the editing changes. Read the editing changes from the bottom up for the proper time sequence.
We anticipate that before the night is over, Police One will have edited their description to say he lunged at the officer.
— Justin Allen (@Allen_Justin) November 25, 2015