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Chicago Officer Charged With Murder for 2014 Shooting of Teen

November 24, 2015  | 

Laquan McDonald was shot by Chicago police in 2014.
Laquan McDonald was shot by Chicago police in 2014.

As Chicago prepared to make public a video from the fatal shooting of a black 17-year-old by a white Chicago police officer, a state prosecutor charged the officer with first-degree murder on Tuesday, reports the New York Times.

The charges against the officer come more than a year after the shooting, but only days after a judge ordered Chicago officials to release the video from the shooting, captured by a dashboard camera in a police car. The judge had ruled that the video, described by some who have seen it as graphic and deeply disturbing, must be released by Wednesday.

Anita Alvarez, the Cook County state's attorney, said in a statement that the officer had turned himself in to the authorities and was scheduled to appear at a bond hearing later on Tuesday.

Dan Herbert, a lawyer for the officer, said the 14-year police veteran believed the shooting was justified because he feared for his safety.

At one point, Laquan McDonald, whose autopsy showed the presence of the drug PCP in his system, pounded on the windshield of the squad car and punctured its front tire with the knife, city officials say.

A lawyer for Mr. McDonald's family says the video shows Mr. McDonald, who the authorities say had a knife, moving away from Mr. Van Dyke. In April, the city agreed to pay $5 million to the family even before a suit had formally been filed in the case.

"In accordance with the judge's ruling, the city will release the video by Nov. 25, which we hope will provide prosecutors time to expeditiously bring their investigation to a conclusion so Chicago can begin to heal," Mr. Emanuel said last week. On Monday, he met privately with community leaders and pastors, and some who attended said he had called for calm.

Comments (10)

Displaying 1 - 10 of 10

Robert @ 11/24/2015 11:27 AM

This is BS on so many levels.
One, I do not know the facts of the case...but I am happy that a jury will finally hear the case. No hiding behind a GJ.
Now for the BS:
1. It took 1 year; either way it should never take that long.
2. I don't believe the LEO would be facing charges if the judge would have ruled the video is to be kept confidential...and that is wrong on many fronts!!!
--Is this guy is being railroaded by the politicians in Chicago
--Is the video going to show that the LEO should have been charged months ago..but the video going public changes the 'optics' of the the DA had to rush and file charges.
--Is there a 'fix' in (like the Dante Servin case) the cop takes some heat, the PBA pays for the lawyer; the DA puts on a show trial (State DA lost the democratic party endorsement...and needs all the votes possible)...but in the end the DA puts up a weak case...LEO acquitted...and everyone walks away happy...except the victim
I guess we will see...

Percy @ 11/24/2015 5:10 PM

"Van Dyke's attorney, Dan Herbert, maintains his client feared for his life and acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story."
Really? I can't wait to hear how this is Obama's fault,or that offier empty clip
is being thrown under the bus.
Glad the video survived.

Jake @ 11/24/2015 5:22 PM

Robert, You make some excellent points. I know virtually nothing of this case other than this story. I do support the releasing of videos in shootings, but it needs to be done systematically and separate of any prosecution so as to not cloud the whole situation as you've outlined above. I am for the release of videos as I believe that the public does have a right to see what happened when a LEO is called upon to use lethal force. Of course, I support a reasonable time to make sure that all relevant videos are discovered and acquired to paint the clearest picture, that the videos be redacted or frozen to the final frame prior to the shooting and that any appropriate statements are attached that the videos, although accurate in their depiction of what they saw, may not capture the scene and event in it's entirety. Body worn must be in addition to dash mounted cameras. Cops make split second decisions but the Monday morning QB'ing will always happen. Good video is a good cops best friend.

JJ @ 11/24/2015 5:59 PM

Robert and Jake, you both make good points on the release of the tape. However, in my days of patrol (63-93) if we shot one guy 16 times, as was previously reported, we would have been on trial for excessive force and at least man slaugher. We had no dash cameras back then, nor cell phones.....but the coroner could count bullet holes. Perhas the officer was in need of more range practice or he just fell apart when he saw this black kid with a knife who just punctured his tire and started shootying indicriminately! On shot between the running lights should have solved the problem!

TripH @ 11/24/2015 7:13 PM

JJ, in your time (63-93) you would have had to reload three times to have been able to shoot 16 times, so yes, you would have probably been wrong. With a semi-auto handgun, 16 shots go quick (and is the full load on a glock).

HowBoutYa @ 11/24/2015 7:30 PM

The family received $5 million, 5 MILLION DOLLARS!!! For what??? For the awesome guidance they provided him??? For the discussions they had with him about making good decisions??? For the warnings they gave him about what PCP / Drugs could do to him??? For all that quality family time they spent with him??? Oh my bad, he was black, therefore, the black family couldn't have possibly brought him up better. We all know there are NO opportunities for a black person to improve their life. Anybody on here know what the family of the involved officer would have got if this poor victim of society would have got to him with the knife? Probably about $250K in life insurance and a pat on the back. Police are sacrificial lambs. Politicians probably would have rather prefered this go the other way.

kevCopAz @ 11/24/2015 8:33 PM

wow saw the video and I have to say based solely on that (which I assume can't be all the story) this shoot may have started as legitimate & righteous... until he went down, but lord not after that. He fell almost immediately and that should have been that. A single view granted but possibly the cop could say he was in fear of his or others lives but really 16 times and most of which while he is on the ground with a knife and not advancing or even trying to get up? For once this may be a legitimate bad shooting where the officer started out in the right but went wrong fast! Sorry but if the other facts are consistent with what I saw on the tape this cop should go to prison.

S.S. @ 11/25/2015 5:50 AM

Good luck to the officer. He's gonna need it. This is a political witch hunt. b.l.m. are gonna try to influence everyone, and the media is gonna eat all that shit up.

Robert @ 11/25/2015 8:44 AM

"Political witch hunt"???!!! Did you see the video.
So now the question comes, is this going to be an actual prosecution or just a show trial for the masses? IMHO, here are the things to look for:
1. IF the DA does not "pile on" charges, the fix is in. A Murder 1 trial only will be easy for the defense to win: The first shot was justified because he feared for his life....and the DA probably can't prove which bullet killed him...therefore you cannot say beyond a reasonable doubt he was killed with malice (bullets 2-16).
2. The entire trial will probably come down to the 2nd (closer) LEO on the scene. Why didn't he fire?
If the fix is in: The LEO will say he froze, but he also feared for his life.
If the trail is legitimate: He will tell the truth, that he did not fear for his life. People who freeze don't act the way he did.
I wonder if this is why the DA waited for a ensure the 2nd LEO had his story straight one way or the other.

S.S. @ 11/30/2015 5:56 AM

YES robert this is political and you know it. Did you see everything? NO! Stop trying to sound like you know everything which occurred that day. Was the officer dispatched and if so what went out. So you know more than what's coming out of the media. Doubt it.

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