Emanuel: City Will Support Release of Ronald Johnson Dashcam Video

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday the city will support the release of dashcam video showing the fatal police shooting of another young African American man.

"We'll do that next week," Emanuel said at an unrelated event Thursday.

The mayor's comment on the Ronald Johnson dashcam video comes more than one week after the city released dashcam video showing a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times last year.

"It is a step in the right direction," the Johnson family's attorney Michael Oppenheimer said Thursday. 

The McDonald shooting video has sparked several protests in the city and prompted calls for the mayor and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign. Earlier this week, Emanuel fired Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

There are similarities between the deaths of McDonald and Johnson, who died only eight days before McDonald. The most glaring similarity between the two cases is the dashcam video of the shooting that the city was fighting to keep hidden from the public.

Police said in a statement after Johnson was killed that officers responded to a call of "shots fired" on the 5300 block of South King Dr. on Oct. 12, 2014. When police arrived at the scene, they saw a man who fit the description of the offender.

Police said that when officers approached the man, he fled the scene on foot. During the pursuit, the man "pointed his weapon in the direction of the pursuing officers."

"As a result of this action, an officer discharged his weapon striking the offender," police said in the statement. The man was taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A weapon was recovered from the scene, police said in the statement.

Johnson's mother Dorothy Holmes believes the dash-cam video of her son's death will clear his name.

"He didn't have a gun in his hand because I also have seen the video," Holmes said. "I looked at it twice."

Oppenheimer said they have already viewed the dashcam video and noted there is no audio on it – even though the videos typically have sound. There was also no audio on the dashcam video from the fatal shooting of McDonald.

"It doesn't make sense that there is no audio," Oppenheimer said. 

Oppenheimer said Johnson was riding in a car with friends when they were stopped by police. Johnson got out of the car and ran.

"As he was running, other police officers chased him," he said. "Nobody fired their weapons until George Hernandez pulled up in a car, got out and drew his weapon and fired five shots at the back of Ronald Johnson."

Oppenheimer says Officer George Hernandez pulled up in an unmarked police vehicle with his gun drawn. He added that within two seconds, Hernandez shot Johnson as he was running away.

"It is disturbing," he said. "It will be forever etched in my memory."

Hernandez said at the time that he felt threatened, city records show. He was placed on desk duty following the shooting, according to Oppenheimer.

"You can clearly see his hands in the video. He is running what I would term to be straight ahead," Oppenheimer said. "He never turns. He never points. And there is nothing in his hand."

Oppenheimer filed a lawsuit to have the dashcam video released – after he says the city refused to hand it over. Court records show that Johnson has four prior arrests.

Two of the charges were dismissed and the others pled down to misdemeanors.

Johnson's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court.

"It's not going to bring him back," Holmes said. "It's not going to make me happy. I don't want it."

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