24 November 2015

Why did This Take a Year

A police officer in Chicago has finally been charged with murder after shooting a black teen 16 times, the bulk of the shots coming after he was already on the ground:
A white Chicago police officer has been charged with murder over the shooting death of a black teenager, just one day before a deadline by which a judge has ordered the city to release a squad-car video of the incident.

Veteran officer Jason Van Dyke was indicted on Tuesday on a first-degree murder charge after shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. The officer was denied bail at a hearing in Chicago’s main criminal courthouse hours after the state’s attorney, Anita Alvarez, announced the charges against him. 

City officials and community leaders have been bracing for the release of the video, fearing an outbreak of unrest and demonstrations similar to what occurred in Ferguson, Baltimore and other cities after young African American men were killed by police. The judge ordered the dash-cam recording to be released by 25 November after city officials had argued for months that it could not be made public until the conclusion of several investigations.

At a press conference before the video’s official release, Alvarez said the officer’s actions “were not justified or the proper use of deadly force by an officer”.


Documents filed in court describe the video’s contents, in which the teen is said to be shown walking away from officers on a Chicago street. As McDonald turns away, Van Dyke takes one step towards the teen and begins to fire his gun, the description says.

For 14 to 15 seconds, according the documents prepared by the state’s attorney’s office, the officers unloads his entire gun into the teen, who spends 13 seconds laying face down on the pavement with his arms and legs jerking from the shots making contact with his body. Three clouds of smoke appear during the incident that indicate shots hitting the pavement, according to officials.


Van Dyke is the first on-duty officer to be charged with murder while working for the Chicago police department in nearly 35 years.


According to a freedom of information request by the Chicago Tribune, the veteran officer has had at least 15 complaints filed against him while working in high-crime neighborhoods, for accusations including using racial epithets and pointing a gun at an arrestee without justification.

In 2007, the officer was involved in a traffic stop in which he and his partner were found to have used excessive force on a man with no prior convictions, leading to a $350,000 award for damages in the case, the Tribune reported.
The murder occurred on October 20 of Last Year, and it was caught on camera, and it still took them a year to file charges, and the initial release from the authorities, portrayed Laquan McDonald as a cross between Rambo and the Incredible Hulk.

The charges and the release of the dashcam video (I am not embedding it) only happened because the protests did not end.

It is clear that everyone on the law enforcement side of this just wanted it to go away.

BTW, there are still some people who should be charged as an accessory to murder, specifically the cops who deleted surveillance video from a Burger King in a clear attempt to obstruct justice.

I'm not sure how to stop this, though I think that the idea that police should be require to self insure might be a good start.

When being a bad cop boosts their liability insurance rates, cops will get better.


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