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Home » Legal Affairs

Chicago Releases ‘Chilling’ Video Of Cop Shooting Teen 16 Times

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The Cook County state’s attorney said the officer “was on the scene less than 30 seconds” before opening fire on Laquan McDonald, 17.


The Society (SBL), the oldest black legal organization in the UK, calls for the immediate dismissal of Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, and Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez following the year long delay in filing murder charges against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke gunned down Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014. Van Dyke had remained in a paid limited duty position on the police department until this Tuesday when it was announced that he would be charged with first-degree murder. Earlier this year, journalist Brandon Smith filed a lawsuit claiming that the police department violated the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release the video and other documents related to the shooting.

On Thursday, Judge Franklin Valderrama of Chicago ordered that the video be released by November 25, 2015. Van Dyke was charged on November 24, 2015 shortly before the video was released. Until last week, the city had fought against releasing of the video. The actions of the City of Chicago demonstrate the lengths of which US intuition go to cover up unlawful killing by police officers, especially when the victims are African, American or Hispanic.

Monique Noel LLM, the SBL lead on police brutality and the use of excessive force commented,

“This shooting is a murderous example of the combination of racial profiling, a Chicago police force out of control and the willingness to view black men as expendable no matter what the situation. This officer was allowed by the Chicago Police Chief to continue to patrol the streets, without full suspension from duties, and was permitted to escape prosecution for over a year until the Court ordered the video released. The video that State Attorney Alvarez relied on to finally bring charges has been available since day one. We believe that had there not been a court order to release the video, Officer Van Dyke would not have been charged.”

The SBL spokesperson, Shireen Khan stated, that,

“It is wholly unacceptable that the City of Chicago fought to hide the publication of such a compelling video. When police officers are shot the state authorities show no hesitation in alleging criminal behavior. The failure to charge the officer concerned is a tacit endorsement of the impunity enjoyed by police officers in the United States. The use of force with sixteen shots fired was completely gratuitous and disproportionate.”

The spate of recent police violence in the United States has deep and historic overtones with echoes of the impunity of lynch mobs, the grossly disproportionate use of the death penalty especially in former slave states in the South, and the continued use of racial profiling. The level of gun violence in the United States is the context in which this killing happens. Figures suggest that African Americans are six times as likely as their white counterparts to be shot by police officers.

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