By Karlton Tate
On Nov. 24th, the graphic dashboard-camera video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting by police officer Jason Van Dyke was released to the public by the Chicago City Police Department following the order by a Chicago city judge. McDonald was confronted and shot by Van Dyke on October 20th, 2014, in response to a report by a resident that the Chicago teen was breaking into trucks and stealing radios.
Mcdonald’s family fought to preserve the video’s privacy, fearing violent protests following its release. The family urged protesters to remain peaceful amidst trying times to preserve the integrity of Mcdonald’s legacy. To the approval of the Mcdonald family, many organizers were successful in keeping the protests peaceable, with only a few incidents with Chicago police over several days of demonstrations.
One night following the release of the video, protesters linked arms and chanted “16 shots,” in reference to the 16 bullets, of Van Dyke’s 16-round capacity service weapon, fired at McDonald. The shooting lasted for 14 or 15 seconds, but in 13 of those seconds, Mcdonald was already on the ground, according to prosecutors.
The protests and events following the release of the video were widely promoted on social media by public figures including Chicago native, Chance The Rapper. As, an outspoken young member of the hip-hop community, Chance used the incident as a springboard to articulate upon police relations with young black men and women on a grander scale.
“We will be at much greater ease when we start to see convictions, and the same treatment we receive for the pettiest of crimes, for officers of the law. It will change the outlook we have as black people on the police system,” said Chance in an interview with Hot 97 FM. Officer Van Dyke is the first on-duty Chicago police officer to be charged with murder in decades.