What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Before

The progress from Western colonial global expansion, and the construction of American wealth and industry on the backs of enslaved Blacks and Native peoples, followed by the abrupt "emancipation" of the slaves and their exodus from the South to the Northern cities, has led us to our current divided society. Divided by economic inequities and unequal access to social resources, the nation lives in a media dream of social harmony, or did until YouTube set its bed on fire. Now, it is common knowledge that our current system of brutal racist policing and punitive over-incarceration serves the dual purpose of maintaining racial prejudice and the inequities it justifies. Brief yourself on this late-breaking development in American history here.

What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Before

Postby admin » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:18 pm

What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Before The Video Showed What Really Happened
by Judd Legum
November 24, 2015

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17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot dead by officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. Here is how the police union described the shooting to the Chicago Tribune for an article published on October 21:

“He’s got a 100-yard stare. He’s staring blankly,” [Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat] Camden said of the teen. “[He] walked up to a car and stabbed the tire of the car and kept walking.”

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.


The Chicago police have had video of the shooting for a year, but refused release it until ordered to do so by a judge.

On Tuesday, the video finally released, and Van Dyke was charged with murder.

The video directly contradicts the account provided to the press after McDonald’s death. McDonald does not “lunge” at the police or do anything threatening. It also shows Van Dyke firing repeatedly at McDonald after he is on the ground and motionless.



In April, police officer Michael Thomas Slager was charged with the murder of Walter Scott after a video contradicted the official police account.

Many police shootings are not captured on video, however. The prosecution of police officers for murder is extremely rare.
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Re: What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Be

Postby admin » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:28 pm

Officer Arrested for Murder After Gunning Down Teen Laquan McDonald on Dashcam Video
Andrew Emett
November 25, 2015

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Officer Jason Van Dyke claimed that Laquan McDonald lunged at him with a knife. New dashcam video footage release shows direct contradictions with the officer's account.

A Chicago police officer was arrested and charged with first-degree murder on Tuesday after dashcam video captured him shooting a teenager 16 times while walking away from the officer. According to his autopsy report and witness statements, the officer shot the teen in the back and continued firing until his colleagues ordered him to stop.

Surrounded by officers and suspected of breaking into cars on October 20, 2014, Laquan McDonald, 17, was attempting to walk away from a group of Chicago cops when Officer Jason Van Dyke exited his patrol car. According to initial reports, McDonald was armed with a knife and lunged at Officer Van Dyke. Fearing for his life and the lives of his fellow officers, Van Dyke shot the teen in the chest out of self-defense.

But according to witness statements and police dashcam video, McDonald was walking away when Van Dyke took a step towards the teen before opening fire. After McDonald collapsed to the ground in a fetal position, Van Dyke continued firing his weapon until emptying his clip. As Van Dyke began reloading his gun, a fellow officer had to order him to cease firing at the defenseless teen.

McDonald’s autopsy revealed that Van Dyke shot him 16 times, including two bullets in the back, seven in his arms, two in his right leg, once on each side of his chest, and single bullets wounds to his right hand, scalp, and neck. Nine of the 16 entrance wounds had a downward trajectory. None of the five other officers at the scene fired their weapons.

Before McDonald’s family could even file a lawsuit, the city gave them a $5 million settlement on the condition that the family agreed not to publicly release the dashcam footage of the teen’s death. After suppressing the video for 13 months, the city received a court order to release the footage by the end of the day on Wednesday. The city released the dashcam video on Tuesday, which clearly shows McDonald did not lunge at the officers before the fatal shooting.

Following the incident, Van Dyke was placed on paid desk duty pending an investigation. On Tuesday morning, Van Dyke turned himself in after Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez charged him with first-degree murder.

“The officer’s actions were not justified and were not a proper use of deadly force,” Alvarez told reporters during a press conference. She described the video as “graphic,” “violent,” and “chilling” and said that it “no doubt will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans.”

Although police and city officials suppressed the dashcam footage for over a year, a Cook County judge found the city in violation of the state’s open records law last week and ordered the release of the video. Instead of fighting the court order, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has attempted to regain the public’s trust by now agreeing with the judge’s decision.

“This officer didn’t uphold the law,” Emanuel stated. “In my view he took the law into his own hands. Didn’t build the trust that we want to see, and wasn’t about providing the safety and security. So at every point, he violated what we entrust him. And when you’re entrusted as a police officer to provide safety, build trust and uphold the law and you violate it, you’re going to be, in my view, held accountable for that action. The second thing is, you know, whether you see it, hear about it or read about it, in my view, I would express that this is a…it’s also a violation of your conscience and it is wrong, and it was hideous.”
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Re: What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Be

Postby admin » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:42 pm

Making Black Lives Matter Means Making Serious Changes
by Terrance Heath
November 25, 2015

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The release of the video of Laquan McDonald’s death, and the murder charges against the Chicago police officer who killed him, show how much has changed since Ferguson, and how much still needs to change.

This week, something happened that Chicago officials spent a year trying to prevent. The world saw with its own eyes what happened the night that police encountered 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald. City officials spent one year and $5 million trying to prevent the dash-cam video of McDonald’s death from seeing the light of day. But for the work of journalists Jamie Kalven and Brandon Smith, and attorney Craig Futterman, they might have succeeded.

On October 20, 2014, Chicago police responding to a call about someone with a knife who threatened one person and tried to break into the car of another encountered 17-year-old Laquan McDonald carrying a 3-inch knife. Police said they saw McDonald stabbing at a car’s tires. When they ordered McDonald to drop the knife, he ignored them and walked away.

Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden said they were waiting for other officers to arrive with stun guns when McDonald lunged at officers with the knife, prompting them to open fire. An officer shot McDonald in the chest, and he was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead later that night. Chicago press followed the police department’s lead, and reported the shooting as a “clear-cut case of self-defense.”

The police version of events began to unravel almost immediately. Reporter Jamie Kalven tracked down several witnesses who said the shooting was unnecessary, because several officers were present and had the situation under control. McDonald was boxed in by police cars and a construction fence. One witness said McDonald was moving away from police, not toward them, when a white police office shot him. McDonald fell to the ground, and after a short pause, the officer fired again and again.

Klaven obtained copy of the autopsy report on McDonald’s death. It revealed that McDonald was shot 16 times.

LaQuan McDonald’s Autopsy Wound Sheet by John Dodge

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LaQuan McDonald's Autopsy Wound Sheet

Chicago Police Department policy requires officers to activate their dash cameras when in pursuit. Kalven and Futterman issued a statement revealing the existence of the dash-cam video and demanding its release. Attorneys for McDonald’s family obtained the video, and said it showed McDonald walking away from police, contradicting the police story that he “lunged” at officers. One month later, the City Council quickly approved a $5 million settlement with the family, without a lawsuit even filed, including a provision keeping the video confidential.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune reported that 14-year-veteran officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald. Van Dyke had a history of brutality complaints, including one that cost the city $500,000 in a civil lawsuit. Yet, none of these incidents led to disciplinary action against Van Dyke. Another report surfaced that police deleted a video of the shooting from a security camera at a nearby Burger King, just hours after the shooting.

That would have been the end of it, except that independent reporter Brandon Smith filed a lawsuit requesting the release of the video under the Freedom of Information Act. Smith won his lawsuit last week, and a judge ordered the video released before Thanksgiving. The video release almost certainly influenced the decision to charge Van Dyke with first-degree murder, announced just ahead of the video’s release.

With an almost palpable dread, Chicago city officials started issuing calls for calm. They’d known for a year how bad the video was, and tried to cover it up. In a way, it was almost to be expected. The McDonald shooting couldn’t have happened at a worse time politically, one month out from an election in which mayor Rahm Emanuel faced a challenger strong enough to force him into a runoff. Black voters had grown disillusioned with Emanuel’s leadership. In a city still grappling with decades-long legacy of police corruption and violence against African Americans, the truth about McDonald’s death could exacerbate that relationship further.

Now, we have the video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting. There’s no audio, even though Chicago police dash-cams automatically record video. So we can’t hear what happened, but we can see it.



We can see his execution by officer Van Dyke unfold second-by-second. We can see McDonald walking away from police, looking anything but threatening. We can see Van Dyke’s patrol car arrive. We can see McDonald fall to the ground six seconds later, when Van Dyke’s first shot hits him, and we can see McDonald’s body jerking on the ground for the 13 seconds Van Dyke continue to fire bullets into him. We can see the pause when Van Dyke stops to reload.

Laquan McDonald’s execution has now become the latest of what could be classified as a modern-day “snuff film.” Today, anyone with an Internet connection and a smartphone can watch the police executions of African-Americans like Laquan McDonald, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, and John Crawford.

The ubiquity of smartphone technology and social media put the tools of the media in the hands of everyday people. Activists and movements like #BlackLivesMatter have used those tools to amplify these stories, which would otherwise have remained local, and forced the problems they represent into our national conscience and political discourse.

These things are important. These videos are important. They tell the truth African-Americans have lived with for decades. They prove, as President Obama said, that people aren’t “making this stuff up.” There’s a Laquan McDonald in countless cities across American. Technology allows activists and ordinary citizens to amplify them, and finally demand that these stories be told. That, too is vitally important. It may even facilitate justice, in some cases. Without the video of McDonald’s death, Van Dyke wouldn’t be facing charges.

As important as they are, neither the videos nor the technology that allows them to be recorded and shared around the world are a solution. The story [of] Laquan McDonald’s death, and the attempt to cover it up, are symptoms of structural racism so deeply embedded in our institutions that we fear that addressing it may destroy those institutions.

Eradicating the national sickness that produces police executions like McDonald’s means making policy changes that eliminate structural like those recommended by those proposed by #BlackLivesMatter. Until we have the political will to make the kinds of changes that prove black lives like Laquan McDonald’s truly matter, we will see more Laquan McDonalds and more videos like the one many of us have seen today.
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Re: What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Be

Postby admin » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:07 pm

Bernie Sanders Calls For Resignations of Officials Who Covered Up Teen’s Death
by Andrew Emett
December 4, 2015

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In response to a recently released police dashcam video depicting the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Sen. Bernie Sanders has called for a federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department. But unlike presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, Sanders also said any elected official, including possibly Mayor Rahm Emanuel and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, should resign if involved in suppressing the video or attempting to cover up the fatal shooting.

“I join with those calling for a federal investigation into the practices of the Chicago Police Department. Futhermore, any official who helped suppress the videotape of Laquan McDonald’s murder should be held accountable. And any elected official with knowledge that the tape was being suppressed or improperly withheld should resign. No one should be shielded by power or position,” Sanders said in a statement released to the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday.

After shooting McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014, Officer Jason Van Dyke initially claimed that the teen had lunged at him with a knife in the moments before the shooting. But police and city officials were aware of a dashcam video that recorded the shooting and revealed that McDonald was walking away from the officer when Van Dyke opened fire. Instead of releasing the footage to the public, officials suppressed the video for 13 months.

As the city of Chicago denied multiple requests to release the footage, freelance journalist Brandon Smith filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. When his FOIA request was denied, Smith filed a lawsuit against the city. After Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan found the police department’s claims to withhold the video were unsubstantiated, Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama ordered the city to release the footage by no later than November 25.

Within hours of arresting Van Dyke for first-degree murder, the city finally released the police dashcam video on November 24. Hours after the shooting, officers obtained a second video recorded by a nearby Burger King. District Manager Jay Darshane has accused the police of deleting 86 minutes of surveillance video, which recorded the fatal shooting.

On Wednesday, Clinton also called for the Justice Department to launch an investigation into the Chicago Police Department, but she did not demand the resignations of any elected officials involved in suppressing the evidence. Instead of asking President Obama’s former chief of staff to step down, Clinton’s campaign issued a lobotomized statement saying, “She knows Mayor Emanuel loves Chicago, and is sure he wants to do all he can to restore trust in the Chicago Police Department.”

On Friday, Sanders took to Twitter reiterating, “Any elected official with knowledge that the tape was being suppressed or improperly withheld should resign.”
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Re: What Police Said About The Killing Of Laquan McDonald Be

Postby admin » Mon Aug 22, 2016 7:15 pm

Police Superintendent Recommends Firing 7 Officers Involved In Teen’s Death
by Andrew Emett
August 18, 2016

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Accused of making false reports and covering up the police shooting of a 17-year-old boy caught on video, seven Chicago police officers involved in the death of Laquan McDonald could be terminated for their actions following the shooting. Although the city’s inspector general recommended firing 10 cops, at least two of the officers have retired since the incident.

Surrounded by officers and suspected of breaking into cars on October 20, 2014, McDonald was attempting to walk away from a group of Chicago cops when Officer Jason Van Dyke exited his patrol car. According to initial reports, McDonald was armed with a knife and lunged at Officer Van Dyke. Fearing for his life and the lives of his fellow officers, Van Dyke shot the teen in the chest out of self-defense.

But according to witness statements and police dashcam video, McDonald was walking away when Van Dyke took a step towards the teen before opening fire. After McDonald collapsed to the ground in a fetal position, Van Dyke continued firing his weapon until emptying his clip. As Van Dyke began reloading his gun, a fellow officer had to order him to cease firing at the defenseless teen.

McDonald’s autopsy revealed that Van Dyke shot him 16 times, including two bullets in the back, seven in his arms, two in his right leg, once on each side of his chest, and single bullet wounds to his right hand, scalp, and neck. Nine of the 16 entrance wounds had a downward trajectory. None of the five other officers at the scene fired their weapons.

Before McDonald’s family could even file a lawsuit, the city gave them a $5 million settlement on the condition that the family agreed not to publicly release the dashcam footage of the teen’s death. After suppressing the video for 13 months, the city received a court order to release the footage, which clearly shows McDonald did not lunge at the officers before the fatal shooting.

In May 2015, Burger King district manager Jay Darshane accused officers of deleting security footage after they spent over three hours in the fast food restaurant on the night of the shooting. According to Darshane, the video equipment was working properly, but 86 minutes of footage, from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., disappeared after the officers left.

Charged with first-degree murder for killing McDonald, Van Dyke fired his first shot at 9:57 p.m. When asked if he was certain that the officers deleted the footage of the killing, Darshane answered, “Yes.”

Earlier this week, Inspector General Joseph Ferguson accused 10 Chicago cops of making false reports about the McDonald shooting and recommended firing eight of the officers, due to the fact that two had recently retired. According to the Chicago Tribune, Deputy Chief David McNaughton and Lt. Anthony Wojcik were both involved in the investigation and retired before the release of the inspector general’s report. In charge of the shooting scene, McNaughton had falsely reported that McDonald was approaching Van Dyke when the officer opened fire.

On Thursday, Superintendent Eddie Johnson called for seven of the officers involved in McDonald’s investigation to be terminated for writing false reports and giving false statements. Although Johnson did not publicly disclose the names of the officers, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Van Dyke’s partner on the night of the shooting, Joseph Walsh, is among the seven officers facing termination.

Unable to unilaterally fire the seven officers, Johnson has stripped them of their police status pending a decision from the Chicago Police Board. Accused of obstructing a police investigation and making false statements, no other officer except Van Dyke currently faces criminal charges.
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