New videos raise fresh questions in Chicago police shooting of black teen
Nov 26, 2015 08:56 PM EST
Newly released police dashboard camera videos from the scene of the shooting of a black teenager by a white Chicago patrolman could raise fresh questions over documentation of the killing, as the city braced for an organized protest march on Friday.
Like the first video released on Tuesday, the new footage lacks discernible audio of the Oct. 20, 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke. Audio and video should be automatically activated on the cameras, according to police department policy.
Van Dyke on Tuesday became the first Chicago police officer in decades to be charged with murder for on-duty use of lethal force and is in jail pending a second bond hearing on Monday.
Protests over police killings of black men have rocked a number of U.S. cities in the past 18 months. Chicago has seen muted reaction thus far to such incidents, even though police shootings there have been more frequent on average than in the bigger cities of New York and Los Angeles.
The new footage from dashboard cameras on squad cars, sent to Reuters and other media in response to public record requests, does not show the actual shooting.
McDonald's killing and the 13-month delay in charging Van Dyke and releasing the video led to demonstrations on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The powerful Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) is supporting a Black Friday march along Michigan Avenue, an upscale shopping street, organized by civil rights leader Reverend Jesse Jackson.
"We have watched in anger and disappointment as the city has covered up police violence," CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement. He accused Mayor Rahm Emanuel of delaying release of the videos while he was running for re-election, which he won in April. Emanuel and other officials said they delayed releasing the video to avoid tainting the investigation of Van Dyke.
There were no signs of protests on Thursday despite some calls on social media for demonstrations at the annual Thanksgiving Day parade.
Police guarded the parade through Chicago's downtown business district, which was packed with families and tourists watching high school bands playing instruments and dancing as inflatables hovered above their heads.
A HISTORY OF COMPLAINTS
Van Dyke had 20 misconduct complaints against him but he was never disciplined, according to the Citizens Police Data Project, a database of 56,000 misconduct complaints against Chicago police officers compiled by the Invisible Institute, a transparency organization.
However, a federal jury in a civil trial against Van Dyke and Thomas McKenna found in 2010 that the two officers had used excessive force during a 2007 traffic stop. The city was ordered to pay the plaintiff, Edward Nance, $350,000 in damages as well as $180,000 in legal fees, according to documents in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.
The first tape of the shooting was released under court order hours after Van Dyke was charged. It showed McDonald as he was gunned down in the middle of a street.
Police said the sound was missing from the first tape due to an unspecified technical problem. A spokesman for the department did not immediately respond on Thursday to an e-mailed question about why the footage released on Wednesday also does not have audio.
One of those new videos is from the patrol car that Van Dyke was in and shows McDonald running away from the vehicle. The shooting occurs off camera.
Prosecutors and police said McDonald was carrying a folding knife and had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system.
The Chicago Police Department directive on dashboard cameras says they "automatically engage audio and video recording when the vehicle's emergency-roof lights are activated."
Officers are supposed to verify cameras are working properly and immediately notify a supervisor if they are inoperable, according to the directive. Police can also manually activate the system.
Chicago police have shot an average of 50 people a year over the last seven years. That average exceeds that of the larger cities of New York and Los Angeles.
Of those shot by Chicago police, 74 percent have been black. On average there have been 17 fatal police shootings in Chicago each year since 2007.