Video: Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times after he walked by Chicago police

A police officer shot Laquan McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014.
A police officer shot Laquan McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014.
Image: Chicago Police Department
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Nov. 25, 2am, ET: This article was updated with information about McDonald’s activities earlier that evening.

Protesters are marching in the streets of Chicago tonight (Nov. 24) after the city’s police department released a graphic dash cam video that captured a white police officer shooting a black teenager.

Hours before, the Chicago police officer involved in the incident, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with first-degree murder for the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was killed last year on October 20.

That night, Van Dyke fired 16 rounds at the teenager within about 14 seconds. The Chicago Tribune reports that Van Dyke was reloading when another officer told him to hold fire. His attorney, Dan Herbert, said Van Dyke was justified in his actions because he feared for his safety.

McDonald had been followed for about a half mile by police, after breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard, according to previous reports, and had used a small knife to slash the tires of a police car that was blocking his way. Police previously said McDonald had lunged at officers on the scene, but he appears to be moving away from them instead. The video (warning: graphic) is about six minutes long:

It shows McDonald running, then walking down the center lane of a two way street. He veers away from police cars in the left lane, carrying something in his right hand, and then is spun around as he is shot from the left. Then he is shot as he is lying on the ground.

A medical examiner’s report said McDonald has PCP in his system when he was killed. Van Dyke is being held without bail until at least Monday, when the judge will view the video.

Reaction to the video was swift. “The video shows that everything that police said after the shooting was a lie,” a Chicago Sun-Times columnist writes. Chicago citizens took to the streets after the video’s release to protest:

Ahead of the video’s release, the city’s mayor pleaded for calm. “I believe this is a moment that can build bridges of understanding rather than become a barrier of misunderstanding. I understand that the people will be upset and will want to protest when they see this video,” said Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. “We as a city must rise to this moment.”

The video’s release comes amid a national dialogue around racism and police brutality, sparked in part by the August 2014 shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. More recently, on Nov. 15, a 24-year-old black man named Jamar Clark was shot by a Minneapolis police officer; he died Nov. 16 after his family took him off life support. Yesterday, a group of white supremacists opened fire on Black Lives Matter protestors in Minneapolis, injuring five people, after a dozen demonstrators attempted to escort them away.