A video capturing the final moments of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black teen from Chicago, succumbing to his death after being shot at 16 times by the police, has been released. The graphic video not only captures the degree of police brutality the teenager had to face but also proves beyond doubt that the shooting was unjustifiable.
What is the case all about?
McDonald was killed in October 2014. He was killed by a white officer Jason Van Dyke. The incident occurred a few months after the shooting of an African American teen in Ferguson sent shock waves across the USA and led to violent protests and riots.
While the CCTV footage was released in the Ferguson case, the dashboard camera footage of McDonald's death - which contained damning evidence of police brutality - was kept from public view during the trial. Dash cams are usually attached to the police vehicle to keep a watch on the public as well as on the officers - particularly to keep a tab on police brutality motivated by racial bias.
Why was the video not released right after the incident?
Because officials believed that the release of the video could spark off violence and hinder the investigation of the case. However, a judge hearing the case ordered the release of the video for the sake of transparency.
During the trial, officer Van Dyke was not suspended from his services. According to CNN, he was still working for the department in a "limited duty position" till Tuesday, when the video was released.
Now he has been charged with first-degree murder.
What does the video prove?
- The dash cam recording shows a patrol car approaching the scene.
- McDonald emerges only after five minutes and 20 seconds have already passed.
- He is seen running. Squad cards with flash lights surround him.
- With his left hand in his pocket, he tries to move away from the two police officers who have their guns pointed at him.
- Within seconds, Mc Donalds turns around and falls even as the bullets strike him.
You can watch the video here.(Caution: It contains graphic footage)
McDonald was shot 16 times. Police say, the teen had a knife in his hand and that the officer feared for his life.
The graphic video has led to protests and outrage in Chicago.
It is unacceptable that the police video footage of #LaquanMcDonald's murder took over a year to be released.- NAACP (@NAACP) November 24, 2015
NAACP, describes itself as " the nation's oldest and largest grassroots-based civil rights organisation."