From the beginning of the sad, tragic saga of LaQuan McDonald, one question has been asked over and over: Why was he shot by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke?
NBC5 Investigates asked former Independent Police Review Authority investigator Lorenzo Davis to watch the dashcam video of McDonald’s shooting. Asked if he saw any threatening moves on McDonald’s part which could have prompted the use of deadly force, he was emphatic: “No I did not.”
There is a point on the video, as McDonald is walking away, where he turns slightly to the officers, less than a second before the first shot. That, says Davis, should not have been considered a threatening move.
“No,” he said. “He turned toward them because they were approaching him with guns. And probably, giving commands for him to show his hands or drop the knife.”
Pointing to the empty street behind McDonald, Davis said he saw no reason the officer chose to fire.
“There’s no reason for firing on this individual,” he said, “because no one in this area is in danger.”
Davis was still at IPRA when the case began, and said he remembered one thing vividly: extraordinary secrecy.
“It was kept under wraps,” he said, noting that unlike other video, he was unable to access it in IPRA systems. “It was felt too much was getting out.”
Dan Herbert, Van Dyke's attorney, has argued the video alone is not enough to determine if Van Dyke "acted inappropriately" when he fatally shot McDonald, though he has described the footage as "graphic and violent" and "difficult to watch." He said the case needs to be tried in a courtroom, "not in the streets or in the media."