Some in City Hall Were Aware of Laquan McDonald Dashcam Video 2 Months After Shooting: Emails

E-mails obtained by NBC Chicago through a Freedom of Information Act request show the City Hall press office was made aware of the possibility of a Laquan McDonald dash cam video on Dec. 8, 2014, two months after the teen was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer.

Emanuel spokeswoman Shannon Breymaier was part of an e-mail chain questioning whether the city could release video of the shooting. A top assistant in the corporation counsel’s office replied, “This is not a lawsuit as of now.”

Top press aides Kelly Quinn and Adam Collins were also part of an e-mail chain on Feb. 10, 2015, which included an article by freelance reporter Jamie Kalven which first reported the autopsy results and wrote: “the account…given by police cannot be true.”

McDonald family attorney Jeff Neslund warned the city in a letter to the Corporation Counsel's office on March 6th of this year: “This case will undoubtedly bring a microscope of national attention to the shooting” and “the City’s pattern, practice and procedures.”

Meanwhile, State Representative LaShawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, filed a bill on Wednesday in Springfield to allow for the recall of Emanuel.

House Bill 4356 would set up the mechanism to initiate a recall election. If passed by both House and Senate and signed by the Governor, a recall election could occur if supported by at least two alderman and the signatures of 85,000 registered voters.

Ford, who represents the Austin neighborhood, said Emanuel should be held accountable, if he doesn’t move the city forward as he has promised. He believes the bill will pass despite the mayor’s powerful Springfield allies, including Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

“It’s about doing what the people have asked me to do,” Ford said.

The House is not due back in session until early January.

Emanuel’s administration has faced intensifying criticism over its handling of police misconduct. Protesters filled downtown streets and block traffic Wednesday with calls for the mayor to step down after he publicly apologized for the death of McDonald and criticized what he called decades of police corruption in an address to Chicago's City Council.

Acting Chief Administrator for the Independent Police Review Authority Sharon Fairley has asked the Office of the Inspector General to launch its own probe into the McDonald case.

Fairley said that while there is an active federal criminal investigation into the incident, “we must also take what steps we can to determine how and why the case reports filed by police that night appear to differ from what we have all seen for ourselves.”

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