Chicago police have released dashboard-cam video showing a Chicago police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times last October. The video was released, by a court order, Tuesday evening after the city fought for months to keep it suppressed.
The version that DNAinfo Chicago posted on its YouTube page is nearly seven minutes long. The shooting footage begins at the five minute mark.
In April, the city decided to pay a $5 million settlement to McDonald’s family before a lawsuit had been filed. Today, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced that Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, would be charged with first-degree murder. He has been held without bond.
She said she had made the decision to charge him weeks ago and that it had taken so long because she was waiting for federal authorities to wrap up their part of a joint investigation that had been launched — which is also the main factor cited by city officials in their explanation for why they refused to release the video to the public.
According to prosecutors’ testimony in bond court, Van Dyke “fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire,” the Chicago Tribune reported. McDonald reportedly had a knife, but according to witnesses at the scene of the murder, the 17-year-old never lunged or started in the direction of the officers.
“In all, Van Dyke was on the scene for less than 30 seconds before he started shooting,” the Tribune reports, “and the first shot was fired about six seconds after he exited his squad car, Alvarez said. About 14 or 15 seconds passed between the first and last shots fired by Van Dyke, and for 13 of those seconds, McDonald was on the ground, she said.”
Across the city, community leaders and activists have urged residents to remain peaceful in their responses to the video.
To see the full video on DNAinfo’s website, click here. Warning: It contains footage that some viewers may find disturbing.