After a judge ordered the release of a dashboard camera video of a police officer fatally shooting a black man 16 times, the city of Chicago is curiously awaiting the footage to be unveiled.
The video emerged from the incident wherein police officer Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald on October 20 last year. The Chicago Police Department was ordered by Judge Franklin Valderrama to release the dashboard camera video that captured the incident by Wednesday. Police say that McDonald, who was shot 16 times, had threatened the police with a knife and had slashed the tires and windshield of a patrol car. A lawyer for McDonald’s mother claims that the footage shows McDonald was moving away from the police when he was shot.
Daniel Herbert, a lawyer for the police and Van Dyke, said that other officers present at the scene at the time of the incident claimed that the victim had refused orders to put down the knife. “I can’t speak why the (other) officers didn’t shoot,” Herbert said, Al Jazeera America reports. “But I certainly can speak to why my client shot, and it is he believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life and that he was concerned about the lives of (other) police officers.”
The shooting occurred after the police responded to a 911 call from a person who said he had been threatened by a knife-wielding man. The same man, the caller said, was attempting to break into cars.
McDonald had PCP in his system when he was shot. According to a police union official, the victim was behaving erratically which made Van Dyke feel his life was in danger.
For several months, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had not released the video, citing federal and state probes. After the judge gave the order, Emanuel expressed his concerns regarding possible protests that could occur in the wake of the video release and added that citizens of Chicago must “use their First Amendment right, but to do it in a focused way.”
Rev. Jedidiah Brown, pastor and activist, was one of the attendees of the meetings that Emanuel held. Brown said that Emanuel “still ain’t saying the right things as far as I’m concerned.”
“We told him, ‘I understand you got to deal with a bureaucracy, but we can’t feel the heart of our mayor,” Brown said, adding that the mayor was told, “We don’t know if you’re sorry that this happened, or if you’re sorry we’re about to find out how bad it really was.”
In April, a $5 million settlement to be paid to the McDonald family was approved by Chicago’s city council, as reported by USA Today.