Yeah, this will upset some people. I don’t expect the majority of my clients to run it. It’s scary.
Over 18 months ago 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald was shot in the street by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Laquan was shot 16 times. Fourteen of those shots were after he was laying in the street. Van Dyke shot LaQuan, ran out of bullets, and it appeared he was going to reload before a fellow officer stopped him. The initial defense was Officer Van Dyke felt threatened, while LaQuan was walking away from him.
For over 18 months this case sat. Officer Van Dyke was put on a desk. Right before the mayoral election the city settled with the family for $5 million, before the family even filed suit. The tape of the shooting was held from the public, until Tuesday when a judge ordered that it be released after a journalist filed for it be released under the state’s open record law. Right then the prosecutor decided to press charges for first degree murder.
The video is from a dashboard camera from a police cruiser. No other footage has been made available. There’s not any audio. There’s allegations the police destroyed additional footage and even went to a Kentucky Fried Chicken and destroyed evidence their cameras caught. We’ll see if any of this actually comes to light.
A lot of people are tired of cops being questioned and accused of targeting minorities. A lot of other people are tired of cops targeting minorities and having it excused, covered up, pushed aside, or ignored. In fact, despite the footage on the video showing Laquan shot 16 times, where the cop started shooting six seconds after leaving his vehicle, it still took prosecutors 18 months to charge the officer.
I watched CNN, MSNBC and Fox News last night to see how this would be covered. Two of those covered the news of the issue. One of them spent most of their time acknowledging the footage looked bad, but kept questioning why minorities don’t protest black on black killings in Chicago. Guess which news source that was. I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with “cox.”
There’s several questions over this. Such as: Why was the video withheld from the public for so many months? Would they have held on to it if it vindicated the cop? If there wasn’t a video would the cop have ever charged.
I’m a natural cynic, but I think I know the answers to all each of those questions.
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