Community Leaders Call for Peace Ahead of Release of Laquan McDonald Video

Community leaders have called on the mayor to keep the peace out of fear that the release of the controversial footage could spark citywide riots.

City leaders addressed the city of Chicago Tuesday, asking for residents to resist forms of unrest ahead of the potential release of a dashcam video showing the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of a Chicago police officer.

"We have heard the blood of the innocent cry from the ground," ministers from across the city said in prayers they used to open the press conference.

The group of ministers pressed the city of Chicago to "talk it out but not be violent when they do so" if dashcam video showing the 2014 death of the teen being killed by police is released this week.

A day prior, city leaders had an emergency meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to come up with a plan that they hope will help the city avoid Ferguson-like protests.

"We want you to be angry because, rightfully so," one said. "You have the right to be angry … but I want to come out with on a positive end."

City Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton has told aldermen the video shows a white officer shooting Laquan McDonald, a black teen, 16 times as he walked along a street last October.

Last week, a judge ordered the video to go public by this Wednesday against the city's wishes, and a source has told NBC Chicago the officer involved in the shooting is expected to be indicted Tuesday.

City leaders have called on the mayor to keep the peace for fear that the video's release could spark dangerous riots. Tensions are high as dozens of black leaders warn that Chicago could be on the brink of erupting when police publicly release the "disturbing" footage.

"I'm cautioning people not to set the city on fire," said Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin. "This is not an opportunity for people to take advantage of a situation -- this does harm to the memory of Laquan McDonald. If we decide to do that I'm urging people to do peaceful protest."

The video has been described as so graphic, even McDonald’s mother is afraid of the potential for an impending uproar. Attorney Mike Robbins, who represents the McDonald family, said Thursday McDonald's mother "is not looking forward to the day this is released."

According to a family attorney, the video shows McDonald holding a small knife and walking away from officers when one unexpectedly opens fire, spraying the teen with more than a dozen bullets and continuing to fire as McDonald lies lifeless on the ground. The city settled with McDonald's family for $5 million.

Police said the shooting was in self-defense and that McDonald lunged at the officer with a knife while authorities were investigating car break-ins in a trucking yard.

His is not being identified at the request of his attorney, Dan Herbert, who said the officer fears for the safety of his family.

"He is scared to death about possible outcomes here," Herbert said during a press conference Friday afternoon. "But he has been a professional and he has really been selfless. His concern is for his wife and his two young kids, who are in grammar school."

Community leaders hope the emergency meeting with the mayor Monday will result in a plan to keep emotions at bay and the city calm.

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