An attorney for the officer accused in the fatal shooting of a black Chicago teen said the officer is “scared to death” about what might happen when footage of the fatal shooting is released.
Attorney Dan Herbert said the video alone is not enough to determine if the officer “acted inappropriately” when he fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
“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.”
The dashcam video, which a judge ordered police to release by Nov. 25, is said to show the teen 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, according to an attorney for the McDonald family.
An autopsy confirmed McDonald was shot a total of 16 times and showed he had PCP in his system.
“It’s not unlike any video that would depict something being shot to death,” Herbert said, adding that the footage is “limited” and does not show what happened before the shooting.
“The video by nature is two dimensional so the problem is it distorts distances, and distances and depth perception are important,” he said. “The most critical problem is that the video does not depict what my client was seeing. It is not a video from the eyes of my client.”
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Herbert described the footage as “graphic and violent” and “difficult to watch.”
The video has also been described as “disturbing” and so graphic that McDonald’s mother is concerned its release would prompt an uproar, according to an attorney representing the McDonald family. Attorney Mike Robbins said Thursday McDonald's mother "is not looking forward to the day this is released."
Herbert maintained that he’s confident the officer’s actions were “not only lawful, but also within department police and within his training.”
The city has paid $5 million to the McDonald family, but there have since been calls for the officer’s firing. He was placed on desk duty following the shooting and has not been charged in the incident.
“It’s my hope and my prayer that everybody who’s working on this case will see it the way the public sees it and that he’ll lose his job,” said Ald. Michelle Harris.
The city is bracing for protests once the video is released, but city officials and community leaders have called for peace.
“Help keep this city calm,” said community leader Josephine Wade.