Teenager Shot Dead By Chicago Police Officer - Chicago PD withhold Video Footage Prompting Accusations of a Cover-Up and Police Misconduct
Laquan McDonald, a 17-year old from Chicago, was shot dead by police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014 - but the incident only came to the public’s attention one year later, after video of the incident had been withheld by the Chicago Police Department.
The Chicago Police Department initially released a statement claiming that Mr. McDonald was carrying a knife and had lunged at Officer Van Dyke. However, the video footage from the camera in Van Dyke’s police-car showed that Mr. McDonald was initially facing away from the officer and was shot in the back. Van Dyke then shot McDonald a total of sixteen times as he lay on the floor.
Not only did the Chicago Police Department withhold the dash-cam video footage of the shooting, but they also went to a nearby McDonald’s and deleted CCTV video footage that may have shown the incident. Eventually a Judge ordered the release of the video footage, leading to the arrest of Officer Van Dyke on charges of first-degree murder. It later emerged that Officer Van Dyke had previously been the subject of over twenty complaints and had been named as a defendant in two civil rights lawsuits.
Mass public protests took place in Chicago, leading to the resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who took responsibility for this gross police misconduct. Following this incident, the family of Mr. McDonald received a preemptive settlement of $5 million for the wrongful death, without even filing a lawsuit against the City of Chicago.
In New York, the NYPD has announced that a new body-camera program will initially only place cameras on 1000 randomly selected police officers. Controversially, the video recordings from these cameras will not be made public by the NYPD, despite protests around the country following the withholding of footage in the Laquan McDonald unlawful shooting.
If you have been the victim of a police shooting, or excessive force or false arrest, or any form of police misconduct, then you should contact the attorneys at PetersonDelleCave LLP.