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*** UPDATED x1 *** A LaQuan McDonald primer

Monday, Nov 23, 2015

* Carol Marin on the death of LaQuan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer last year

The teenager was killed in a tumultuous time. Ferguson, Missouri, had recently jumped off in riots after a police shooting of a young man, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel was entering a tougher-than-expected re-election battle.

The police department and the police union both quickly put out stories about how McDonald continued to approach the officer and therefore was shot. The story would have disappeared had it not been for an anonymous city employee telling freelance journalist Jamie Kalven and University of Chicago civil rights attorney Craig Futterman that video would tell a very different story.

But it took until five days after Emanuel’s April election victory for the City Council to learn about the incident, when it was asked to give the McDonald family $5 million without the family ever filing a lawsuit.

* Carol Marin on the missing video

Chicago police officers deleted footage from a security camera at a Burger King restaurant located fewer than 100 yards from where 17-year old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed, according to a Chicago-area district manager for the food chain. […]

The 86-minutes of missing video runs from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., according to the lawyers for McDonald’s family. He was shot at approximately 9:50 p.m.

The Burger King sits at 40th and Pulaski and has a series of outside security cameras. On the night of the shooting, McDonald was trailed by Chicago police officers through the Burger King parking lot after a call about a man with a knife, according to attorneys for the McDonald family. […]

After the shooting, according to Jay Darshane, the District Manager for Burger King, four to five police officers wearing blue and white shirts entered the restaurant and asked to view the video and were given the password to the equipment. Three hours later they left, he said.

The next day, when an investigator from the Independent Police Review Authority asked to view the security footage, it was discovered that the 86 minutes of video was missing.

* There’s also missing audio, according to Marin

Video captured by an in-camera squad car on the night a Chicago Police officer shot and killed 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald does not contain audio, according to attorneys for the McDonald family, who have viewed the tape. […]

“There’s no audio so we can’t hear the number of shots,” Neslund said. “My understanding is that there are two audio microphones in every CPD Tahoe that are supposed to be charged up, in fact the officers are supposed to be wearing them clipped to their uniform. But there is no audio from any of these vehicles as far as we know.”

* What the police said the day after the shooting

A “preliminary statement” from the police News Affairs division, sent to the media early the next morning, said that after he had refused orders to drop the knife, McDonald “continued to approach the officers” and that as a result “the officer discharged his weapon, striking the offender.”

* Daily Beast

The McDonald story begins on Oct. 20 when police were called to an industrial area in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood. There, the teen was reported by police to have been behaving erratically. Officers requested back up because they weren’t equipped with the Tasers they should have used to take McDonald down and arrest him.

McDonald was put down without the Tasers, anyway.

Van Dyke and four officers followed McDonald in their squad cars as he wandered, high on the PCP that was later found in an autopsy, waving a four-inch blade. The teen eventually teetered into the street from the side, prompting the need for officers to react, the police union spokesman Camden said. Van Dyke and other officers reportedly ordered McDonald to drop the knife.

When he didn’t comply, Van Dyke and his fellow officers tried to box McDonald in with their squad cars. McDonald responded by puncturing a tire.

What came next depends on who you believe, which is why so many have called for the release of the video that may answer the questions that have persisted since Oct. 20

* Mary Mitchell

Attorney Jeffrey Neslund is barred from releasing the dash-cam video he obtained from the city under conditions of a $5 million settlement expected to be approved Wednesday by the Chicago City Council.

But Neslund described the images to me.

Laquan McDonald, 17, is walking west in the middle of Pulaski Road at 40th Street. He has a knife in his right hand.

He is not running.

He is not lunging.

He is walking.

Two Chicago Police officers jump out of a Tahoe with their guns drawn.

McDonald is still walking west toward the sidewalk with a full lane of traffic separating him from one of the officers.

When the officer begins shooting, the first shots spin McDonald around. The officer continues to fire from a distance of between 12 and 15 feet.

McDonald falls.

The only movement is the puffs of smoke coming from the teen’s torso and his head.

The police officer comes into view and kicks the knife out of the boy’s right hand.

The autopsy report is here.

The silent dashboard video will be released by Wednesday.

* The officer’s attorney

Van Dyke’s attorney, Daniel Herbert, reiterated Friday that the officer feared for his life and the lives of other officers at the scene. He said the video doesn’t capture the entire incident.

“I can’t speak why the (other) officers didn’t shoot,” Herbert told reporters. “But I certainly can speak to why my client shot, and it is he believed in his heart of hearts that he was in fear for his life and that he was concerned about the lives of (other) police officers.”

* The officer who was alleged to have fired his weapon 16 times into the teenager had been hit with 15 citizen complaints about his work, but was never disciplined.

From July

A Chicago investigator who determined that several civilian shootings by police officers were unjustified was fired after resisting orders to reverse those findings, according to internal records of his agency obtained by WBEZ.

* New York Times

In 18 years with the Chicago Police Department, the nation’s second-largest, Jerome Finnigan had never been disciplined — although 68 citizen complaints had been lodged against him, including accusations that he used excessive force and regularly conducted illegal searches.

Then, in 2011, he admitted to robbing criminal suspects while serving in an elite police unit and ordering a hit on a fellow police officer he thought intended to turn him in. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison. “My bosses knew what I was doing out there, and it went on and on,” he said in court when he pleaded guilty. “And this wasn’t the exception to the rule. This was the rule.”

Mr. Finnigan is one of thousands of Chicago police officers who have been the subject of citizen complaints over the years but have not been disciplined by the department, according to data released this month by the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism organization, and the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School. Such information is rarely made public and has come to light in Chicago only after a decade-long legal battle by the institute and the clinic.

* Sun-Times

Chicago Police officers were disciplined in only 3 percent of more than 56,000 misconduct complaints filed over a 12-year period, according to a new analysis. […]

Only 10 percent of the officers were accused of misconduct 10 or more times, but they accounted for 30 percent of the complaints.

And those “repeater” officers saw fewer of their complaints sustained than other officers. […]

Black Chicagoans accounted for 60 percent of the complaints, but less than 25 percent of the sustained complaints. Black cops were found guilty of a higher percentage of offenses than white cops and they were punished twice as often.

*** UPDATE *** CBS 2

A source close to the investigation believes a Chicago police officer who fatally shot a teenager last year will be indicted on Tuesday.

The exact nature of the charges from State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez were not immediately known.

CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports that Mayor Rahm Emanuel held a conference call on Monday with key civic leaders, urging calm once a video of the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald is released.

In the call, the mayor called the shooting “hideous.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - The Captain - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:39 pm:

    How does this only get 12 years?

    Then, in 2011, he admitted to robbing criminal suspects while serving in an elite police unit and ordering a hit on a fellow police officer he thought intended to turn him in. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

  2. - Politix - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:40 pm:

    I’ve been pretty concerned about what this video is going to bring to the city. The anger will be justified. I’m just not looking forward to it. And I think this will make or break Anita Alvarez. She’s going to need to step up communication with the community on what’s happening with the case, pronto.

  3. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    For those of you who don’t get it yet, this is what Black Lives Matters is all about. Why did this have to happen? Why? Why is an officer never disciplined? Case after case.

  4. - 47th Ward - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:54 pm:

    This is bad. Very very bad. It’s bad first for the victim and his family. Not saying the victim wasn’t partially to blame, but being shot 16 times for being high and holding a knife sure seems excessive to me.

    It’s bad for the police too. An already shaky relationship with poor minority communities is about to get shakier. Good luck trying to control protesters after this gets out. Being a cop is already a tough job, incidents like this make it much tougher.

    It’s bad for the city. Communities will become more isolated and entrenched. Suspicion grows and mistrust will reinforce that some neighborhoods are on their own. A divided city will become more so.

    I hope everyone remains calm. No good will come from more violence. Say a prayer tonight for all of the victims of this incident and for peace.

  5. - Mouthy - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:56 pm:

    Every officer should have a body cam so they and the public are protected and the truth always wins the day.

  6. - Rahm'sMiddleFinger - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 2:58 pm:

    McCarthy needs to go. And fast.

    I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t get thrown under the bus here.

  7. - Willie Stark - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:03 pm:

    Shouldn’t there also be a criminal investigation, FBI/DOJ, as to a conspiracy to cover up evidence in furtherance of a crime? The deleted Burger King footage and missing dash cam sound files are appalling. Reasonable speculation is that even if only one officer shot there may have been vocal “enthusiasm” from others, not just a recording of the number of shots as a concern.

  8. - Anon - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:04 pm:

    I’m not sure how we can keep thinking we’re decent people while we tolerate being served by folks that act like this.

    Our tax dollars pay for cops who murdered people and are so bad at covering it up that 5 of them went to go delete the evidence together.

    Has anyone done a study over an extended period of how much Chicago has paid out for settlements and verdicts regarding police misconduct?

  9. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    ==And I think this will make or break Anita Alvarez. ==

    Really? She has already been broken. This happened over a year ago and she chooses to indict now that she has an election………

  10. - Allen D - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:08 pm:

    All Illinois State Police have been recalled from vacations and placed on standby throughout the state in the expectation of civil unrest on Wednesday after the release of the Tape….

    My only question is Why the day before thanksgiving?

    I have heard all about the tape for a couple days from ISP officers and it is not good, and violence is expected (their words not mine)

  11. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:12 pm:

    Wednesday is going to be clear and nearly 50°.

    This could be really bad. Pray for rain, then pray for justice.

  12. - Sir Reel - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:13 pm:

    16 times says it all.

  13. - Keyser Soze - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:16 pm:

    Hate to say it but this is the Chicago way. Chief McCarthy could take the fall for it but he didn’t invent it.

  14. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:21 pm:

    Note that being high and holding a knife isn’t necessarily even against the law.

    It’s possible (we may know upon seeing the tape) that Laquan disobeyed a lawful order. But so we’re clear, that means he got the death penalty for disturbing the peace or obstructing justice or some other penny-ante quasi-crime.

  15. - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:21 pm:


    And how does the city pay a $5,000,000 settlement, while the officer involved continues to receive a salary?

  16. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==I’d be really surprised if he doesn’t get thrown under the bus here.==

    The mayor’s already got folks gossiping that he’ll be justified if he does that.

    Alvarez and Emanuel have a lot to answer for here. It will be interesting to see whether sacrificing McCarthy is considered adequate. It shouldn’t be.

  17. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:23 pm:

    That database has only limited years. 2002 to 2008 and 2011 to 2015. Tip of the iceberg for some of those officers who have been notorious for years for misconduct. A system corrupt and rotten through and through for years with nothing but cover-ups and denials.

  18. - Anon - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:27 pm:

    ===My only question is Why the day before thanksgiving?===

    They’re probably trying to bury the story.

  19. - okgo - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:33 pm:

    At least they are handling this better than every other city that has confronted similar issues.

  20. - LizPhairTax - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:35 pm:


    handling which? the shooting or the probable riots?

  21. - crazybleedingheart - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:39 pm:

    ==At least they are handling this better than every other city that has confronted similar issues.==

    Actually, I prefer my elected officials NOT squelch a major incident for over 6 months (until after the mayor is safely re-elected) and then sit on the evidence for another 6 months (without the state’s attorney pressing any charges until after a judge orders the tape be made public).

  22. - Century Club - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:40 pm:

    okgo,I’d hold off on the faint praise.

    The city fought against the release of this tape, and I don’t see it as coincidence that -after over a year after the incident - this officer is being charged the day before the tape is released. This looks strongly like the city tried to sweep this under the rug and was unsuccessful.

  23. - NOTFUNNY - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:46 pm:

    ==This looks strongly like the city tried to sweep this under the rug and was unsuccessful.==

    It’s the same thing Alvarez did with Koschman.

  24. - Jake From Elwood - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 4:29 pm:

    One shot could potentially be an accident. Firing sixteen shots is never an accident.

    The Burger King “erase squad” incident needs to be investigated to the full extent of the laws. What was the manager to do when the intimidation team arrived? Despicable behavior.

    The timing of the release of the tape has the potential to cause an even greater reaction. Lots of college kids home for the break means larger and louder crowds. The fact that the judge is releasing this on tape on one of the most historically drunken evenings of the year was another bad idea.

  25. - Archiesmom - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 4:31 pm:

    I think a lot of people are very worried about this and are trying to orchestrate timing. You release the tape Wednesday afternoon, following a Tuesday indictment of the cop, trying to blunt some of the reaction. And you do it the day before Thanksgiving because people will be at home, not commuting to work for fewer disruptions in case there are incidents of unrest. Right now I don’t think they care as much about politics is trying to prevent another Ferguson or Baltimore in the country’s third largest city.

  26. - Archiesmom - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 4:38 pm:

    And maybe it would be time to announce the grand jury into obstruction of justice against the cops who wiped tapes. Or a hard core commission looking into this police department. I know some individual cops who are great men and women, but all lot of ugly and corrupt things go on in that department, and have been for years. I don’t know how you do it, I don’t know if it would work, but it has to be worth trying for some reform.

  27. - Wensicia - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 5:03 pm:

    This is going to be ugly. My concern is for the family and how they’ll be forced to suffer through this again.

  28. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 5:48 pm:

    Rich, I would also add the the officer in question in this case was never disciplined despite a federal jury awarding a plaintiff hundreds of thousands of dollars for excessive force. In fact, IPRA dismissed the complaint in that case because–wait for it–they said there was a “lack of evidence.”—met-20150425-story.html

  29. - Wordslinger - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 5:53 pm:

    What abut the missing video and audio? Is there an obstruction of justice investigation going on?

    Release on Wednesday, one of the drunkiest days of the year rolling into a long holiday weekend. Some timing.

  30. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 6:02 pm:

    20 of Chicago’s 2705 shootings YTD are CPD related. Seven were fatal.

    The video supposedly shows the cop wrongly shooting Laquan McDonald, and it staggering he was never disciplined in any of the complaints.

    But there are another 12000 officers in the CPD though, many who save lives daily. This was a tragedy, and what ever the video shows please refrain from judging all CPD cops by this one.

  31. - Stuck on the 3rd Floor - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 6:17 pm:

    Don’t want to give an already embattled PD another black eye? Don’t go around deleting private video footage. Don’t want your too precious tax dollars to be spent on settlements instead of more cops? Don’t let scumbags have badges.

  32. - Anon - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 6:24 pm:

    Like I suspect many others who have tended to support police over the years, I am a convert to the belief that drastic change is immediately needed. I am angry to read of the deletion of the Burger King tape — those officers need to be fired and indicted for obstruction. I am angry over the long cover up, which would still be underway were it not for determined legal aide lawyers and journalists — those involved in the cover up need to be held accountable. I am totally unimpressed by the long-delayed indictment Alverez will apparently unveil with pomp tomorrow — too late, and done under too much distress, to impress. A lot of change and accountability needs to happen if trust is to be restored. As a parent, I have seen my own kids come to believe that police officers are worthy of suspicion and not automatic respect, and I cannot honestly discourage such thought — law enforcement has earned that reputation by hideous actions like those that will be so much discussed over Thanksgiving in Chicago this year.

  33. - Rich Miller - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 6:41 pm:

    ===many who save lives daily===

    I totally agree.

    And one of the best ways to honor the good works of the many, many good guys is by getting rid of the bad guys.

  34. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 6:43 pm:

    3:46, it is similar to Koschman with a few big differences. That family had to fight a police cover-up for a decade before they got truth and 250K. There was no fear of public violence, either

  35. - Info - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 7:16 pm:

    I am assuming that this tape will not be released, at least, not right now. The indictment tomorrow will hold the video, buying the city some more time, until conclusion of the criminal trial. So I would anticipate a late summer release, with calmer results, once his trial concludes. Sad series of events for all involved.

  36. - Wordslinger - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 7:48 pm:

    Info, read the post. Court order, by Wednesday. Hence, the post and the concern.

  37. - anon - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 7:59 pm:

    I agree with other comments. Further, the five Officers that removed the video should lose their jobs for obstruction of justice. The whole story stinks. And more troubling is the amount of Police Officers at the scene who witnessed the event yet not one had filed a complaint with their superiors. Don’t they have an obligation to report (to say the least) unethical conduct?Another million dollar settlement on behalf of the CPD. Where does it end? Confiscated video, lost audio, etc etc. Plain and simple, no one deserves to be shot 16 times. Do you really need a video to challenge that opinion? A very sad day for Chicago.

  38. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 8:35 pm:

    This was a terrible thing, I cannot in any way condone or explain the actions of the police involved. But why are so many commentators assuming that the response of the Community will be violence? Isn’t that racist? Why do you automatically assume that people cannot channel their emotions in a positive way?

  39. - Wordslinger - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 8:43 pm:

    anon 8:35, any reason you’re not using your usual handle?

    You might want to look up the definition of racist as well.

  40. - Precinct Captain - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 8:48 pm:

    ==- Wordslinger - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 5:53 pm:

    What abut the missing video and audio? Is there an obstruction of justice investigation going on?==

    Of course not, this is Cook County, not Candy Land.

  41. - Pleco84 - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 11:44 pm:

    Assuming that the Audio and the Surveillance video (from Burger King) were in fact deleted (which I wouldn’t be surprised), Chicago should brace for some protests/riots….and they should have released the video long ago before the holidays.

    But on a side note, a dude on PCP is the worst nightmare any cop can deal with.

  42. - Biker - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 7:42 am:

    “He said the video doesn’t capture the entire incident.”

  43. - Chicago taxpayer - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 8:20 am:

    Big question is: What took Alvarez and the FBI so long?

  44. - driveway mechanic - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 9:03 am:

    Police who are found to act inappropriately costing taxpayers their hard earned dollars should have that money taken out of their pension fund, we will see how fast the good cops weed out the bad ones.

  45. - Bobio - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 9:28 am:

    The incident is bad, the cover up and delay was worse. I remember Emanual espousing how this wouldn’t happen in Chicago because of the police training even when this incident had already occured and he was awarding the family millions.

    This could very well surpass Fergusen due to Chicago’s national prominence. I imagine the rabble rousers are changing their holiday travel plans.

    Finally, they can charge the cop to the highest extent of the law but it will be very hard to convict if the kid had a knife. If he is found not guilty, that won’t go over very well with the comunity either. Bad business for Chicago.

  46. - crazybleedingheart - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 11:46 am:

    ==The fact that the judge is releasing this on tape on one of the most historically drunken evenings of the year==

    That’s on Emanuel, not the judge.

    The city can release the tape as soon as it wants to. Wed, today, yesterday, 6 months ago.

    It just can’t release it LATER than tomorrow.

    Rahm’s understanding of the universe is so flawed that he hoped that a) things would settle down or b) people would forget about it or c) his prepayment to the family would keep a lid on it.

    Now that the situation in MN has become even more horrifying, the “wisdom” of his ostrich strategy speaks for itself.

  47. - Union Man - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 12:04 pm:

    “naahhhh, THOSE…THOSE People were resisting arrest!” —Richard Pryor

  48. - Union Man - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 12:05 pm:

    Say the word “BLAM” 16 times out loud and you’ll get a sense of just how many rounds that is.

  49. - jerry in chicago - Tuesday, Nov 24, 15 @ 12:51 pm:

    - Robert the Bruce - Monday, Nov 23, 15 @ 3:21 pm:


    And how does the city pay a $5,000,000 settlement, while the officer involved continues to receive a salary?

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* IEMA Highlights Emergency Preparedness for People with Access and Functional Needs in May - Ready Illinois website offers preparedness tips for people, caregivers
* First Lady Launches Illinois Family Connects
* Governor and Lt. Governor Unveil 2016 Journal of Local Government Shared Service Best Practices

* Survey says iPhone X was less popular than small iPhone 8 in the US during Q4
* New Live TV Streaming Numbers Place YouTube TV at Just Over 300K Subscribers and Hulu at 450K
* Letgo takes on Craigslist with addition of housing listings
* MetroPCS debuts $59 LG Aristo 2 with facial recognition and 2GB RAM
* Amazon Opens Checkout-Free 'Amazon Go' Grocery Store to the Public in Seattle
* Audiobooks reportedly getting a dedicated section on Play Store with 50% discount on first purchase
* Microsoft unveils ultra-affordable, uncompromising Windows 10 laptops for schools

* Baseball America top 100, Sox-Brewers rumors, and other reading
* Advocating for retired non-numbers
* Getting ready for Soxfest 2018
* White Sox seeking new flagship radio home
* Engel working to steady barrel in Year 2
* WLS parent company looking to end White Sox radio deal
* Inbox: Who replaces Rodon in the rotation?

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