Chicago simmered Wednesday after Tuesday’s release of a graphic video that shows a white police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times.
On Tuesday, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in connection with the October 2014 death of Laquan McDonald, 17. He was ordered held without bond over the Thanksgiving weekend.
(Warning: Graphic Content; Relevant footage begins at 4:33)
“The officer in this case took a young man’s life, and he’s going to have to account for his actions,” said Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Tuesday. “People have a right to be angry, people have a right to protest. We knew this day was coming. We’ve been prepared for this day coming for quite some time.”
McDonald’s family had asked for calm, as did city officials.
“No one understands the anger more than us but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful,” said a statement the family released Tuesday. “Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name, let his legacy be better than that.”
The video shows McDonald, armed with a knife, initially running, then walking away from officers responding to a call about cars being broken into. In the video, Van Dyke exits his vehicle. McDonald does not stop. Van Dyke opens fire. McDonald is hit and falls to the ground. Van Dyke keeps firing. Bullets keep hitting McDonald until Van Dyke stops to reload.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said Van Dyke’s first shot was fired six seconds after he left his vehicle. She said Van Dyke fired for about 14 or 15 seconds, and that for 13 of those seconds, McDonald was on the ground.
Van Dyke joined the Chicago Police Department in 2001 and formerly served in its Targeted Response Unit, which responded to spikes in crime in Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for her husband’s bond.
“He is a highly decorated and respected officer,” Tiffany Van Dyke wrote. “He was in a shooting that has been covered extensively by the media and we ask for your patience for all the facts to come out in the trial. We want him to be home with his family as we go through this judicial process.”
The case against Van Dyke has been months in the making. Alvarez said she filed charges this week after the video released Tuesday was ruled to be a public document.
Chicago has already paid McDonald’s family $5 million in damages in response to the shooting.
h/t: Chicago Tribune