If Laquan McDonald’s death at the hands of Chicago policeman Jason Van Dyke hadn’t been recorded on dashcam video, Van Dyke, like countless officers before him, might never have been arrested or charged with murder. A new DNAinfo report on the state of dashcams in Chicago squad cars illuminates just how close that was to happening.
Politicians are generally beholden to police. One need look no further than what the NYPD did to Bill De Blasio nearly a year ago, after he admitted in public that he had told his son to be wary around cops, to see to the lengths police departments are willing to go to exert authority over a city’s elected leadership.
Rahm Emanuel has said the right things in public about the Laquan McDonald travesty, even if behind closed doors he’s been a force for something less than total justice. The reported details of a series of meetings Emanuel had with a number of black civic leaders from Chicago’s South Side prior to the release of the dashcam footage won’t do much to shore up his image among Chicagoans.
Twenty-four years ago, I watched a police officer shoot a man. It was right outside a supermarket, the Acme Market on Route 40 in Havre de Grace, Maryland. A ferocious thunderstorm had rolled through, all noise and eerie green light, while we were shopping, and the parking lot was still flooded with rain.
Hours after the release of a dash cam video showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald with 16 bullets from a semi-automatic gun, hours after prosecutors charged Van Dyke with first degree murder (over a year after the shooting, during which Van Dyke continued to work for the Chicago Police Department), hundreds of people gathered near the University of Illinois-Chicago campus and started to march.
A video allegedly depicting a black teenager being shot and killed by a Chicago police officer last year will be released, The Guardian reports, after a Cook County judge ruled Thursday that it was not exempt from requests made under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, as city officials had previously claimed.