Judge Orders Release of Video Showing Shooting Death of Chicago Teen

A Cook County Judge said police must release the footage by Nov. 25

A judge has ruled that Chicago police must release dashcam video said to show an officer fatally shooting a Chicago teen 16 times.

Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama told a packed courtroom Thursday the department must reveal the dashcam footage that captures the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014 at the hands of a white police officer. He added that he "spent a considerable amount of time" making his decision.

Valderrama said police must release the footage by Nov. 25 and denied the city's request for an immediate stay after the decision.

The city law department said shortly after the decision was made that it has decided not to appeal and the video will be released. 

"Police officers are entrusted to uphold the law, and to provide safety to our residents," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement. "In this case unfortunately, it appears an officer violated that trust at every level. As a result, the city’s Independent Police Review Authority promptly sent this case and the evidence to state and federal prosecutors who have been investigating it for almost a year. In accordance with the judge’s ruling the City will release the video by November 25, which we hope will provide prosecutors time to expeditiously bring their investigation to a conclusion so Chicago can begin to heal."

The footage has been described as "disturbing" and so graphic that McDonald’s mother is concerned its release would prompt an uproar. Attorney Mike Robbins, who represents the McDonald family, said Thursday McDonald's mother "is not looking forward to the day this is released."

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

An autopsy confirmed McDonald was shot a total of 16 times and showed he had PCP in his system.

A city attorney who watched the video recommended a $5 million settlement for the victim’s family. 

The Illinois attorney general's office asked police to release the footage earlier this week.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushed back, saying it would be premature to release the video because of an ongoing FBI investigation.

The video has been requested before. A journalist previously filed a public records request for the video, along with the Illinois attorney general’s office, but the city refused, alleging its release would hinder the investigation and prevent a fair trial.

In a letter released Wednesday, however, Asst. Attorney General Neil Olson said the police department failed to offer evidence that releasing the video would interfere with the investigation.

The Chicago police officer who shot McDonald has been placed on desk duty.

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