A few months ago police dashboard footage was released of a white police officer killing a black teenager. In the video, taken in October, 2014, the officer, Jason Van Dyke, shot a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 16 times. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder after the footage was released, and posted a $1.5 million bail last November.
There have been many questions about why the footage was not released for such a long time. The footage was only made public after a judge ordered it be released. The order was the result of a lawsuit brought by a journalist, who argued that the video was in the public record. The city argued that release of the footage would compromise a federal investigation and a probe by the state’s attorney, but the judge ruled for the journalist.
The officer in the video has a history of complaints made against him, though he was cleared in nearly all of them. Most of the complaints alleged excessive force, with one allegation of a racial slur. But there have been no apparent criminal proceedings brought against him until recently, when the footage was released.
Call for Resignation
In the midst of rallies and protests, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has asked Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign. He cited shaken trust in police, stating that police officers are not effective if they are not trusted. Mayor Emanuel stated that he asked for McCarthy’s resignation in order to confront the challenges facing the police department. He then described a new task force on police accountability, formed to review the training and oversight of the city’s police officers.
University of Chicago Threat
The call for McCarthy’s resignation is not the only major event facing the city as a result of this recent shooting. A 21-year-old student was arrested Monday, November 30, for allegedly threatening to kill students and staff at the University of Chicago in revenge for McDonald’s death. This student reportedly posted the threat on social media, saying that he was going to kill 16 white male students to correspond with the number of times McDonald was “killed,” then die himself, killing as many white police officers as possible in the process.
In response to the threat, the university closed its Hyde Park campus, cancelling all classes and activities, asking students and nonessential staff to stay away from campus, and asking students in on-campus housing to stay indoors. The aforementioned student has been charged with transmitting a threat in interstate commerce, an offense punishable by up to five years in prison.
If you have been arrested for or charged with a criminal offense, you need experienced legal representation to help you defend your rights. Please contact the skilled Chicago civil rights attorneys at Barney & Hourihane for a free initial consultation