The dashcam video footage that shows a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a black teenager was released for the first time.
The release of the video, which shows the shooting of Laquan McDonald at the hands of Jason Van Dyke on October 20 last year, came a day ahead of its court ordered deadline, according to ABC News. Chicago Police Superintendent, Garry McCarthy, said that the video footage had no sound. It shows the 17-year-old McDonald walking down the middle of the street before his encounter with the police.
Cook County State’s Attorney, Anita Alvarez, described the footage as grim. “It is graphic, it is violent, it is chilling,” she said. At a press conference, Chicago Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, and McCarthy urged people to maintain calm following the release of the video.
According to USA Today, the footage shows McDonald walking down the middle of the thoroughfare. He was walking away from the police when he was first struck. After he falls down to his side, two puffs of smoke appear, which the prosecutors say are clouds of debris caused by bullets. The last strike, which was shot around 13 seconds later, caused McDonald’s body to jerk and arms to move slightly while he stayed on the ground. An officer, identified as McDonald’s partner, then approaches the victim and kicks the knife he’s holding in his hand.
Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times, was arrested on a first degree murder charge.
In a statement, McDonald’s family said that they “would prefer” it to not be released to the public. They also urged people to maintain “calm” if the footage does go public.
Van Dyke was made to step down from his duties immediately, McCarthy said. Van Dyke was not being paid by the department anymore. “Every day in this city, you see thousands of officers performing admirably and making a difference of the lives of the people of Chicago,” McCarthy said. “We are not the least bit pleased about this.” Emanuel reiterated McCarty’s sentiments, saying, “This moment does not speak to who we are and what we can become.”
The subject of police brutality against African American individuals has become a debatable issue in the last 18 months in the wake of several incidents that have occurred in New York, Ferguson and Baltimore, among others. The release of the video could elicit a strong reaction. In a statement, Emanuel said, “Across Chicago there are thousands of police officers who protect our communities every day with the highest professional standards. As the State’s Attorney made clear, Jason Van Dyke’s actions violated those standards and also the moral standards that bind our community together.”