Chicago Officer Charged With Murder as Laquan McDonald Video Release Looms

November 24th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

By Wednesday the public will finally see dash cam video of a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

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Officer Jason Van Dyke allegedly shot the teen 16 times—twice in the back—in October of 2014. He was placed on desk duty, but he arrived in court to face charges for the death of McDonald and is likely to be charged with murder on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, the outcome of a criminal probe launched by state attorney Anita Alvarez. 

McDonald was reportedly armed with a knife and walking away from the officer when Van Dyke opened fire from about 15 feet away, according to the family's attorney, who has seen the video. A toxicology report found that the teen had PCP in his system at the time of the shooting.


A county judge ordered the city of Chicago to release the dash cam footage last week, and city officials are on edge about the possibility of citywide demonstrations. "We hope people will be civil and to focus on a remedy and not just reaction," Rev. Jesse Jackson said on Saturday.

"I think a major police department shakeup should be a step toward a remedy and relief," he added. "I think the indictment of the killer and witnesses would be a major shakeup. The issue should be: There are consequences for killing people in this way"

Neither the Chicago Police Department nor the city of Chicago has offered additional details about the video's release, except that it would be released by the court's deadline, November 25.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is slated to meet with community and religious leaders on Monday in order to "discuss the tragedy that took place last October," Emanuel spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said. He described the shooting as "profoundly hideous."

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Before even filing a lawsuit, McDonald's family received a $5 million civil settlement from the city of Chicago.