Newly released videos from four additional police vehicles at the scene of the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald raise questions about how the city’s Police Department documented the killing of an African-American teenager that has led to a Chicago cop being charged with first-degree murder.
The police dashboard camera videos also shed new light on how the events unfolded leading up to McDonald’s death by showing police response to the incident from new perspectives. That includes from the vehicle Officer Jason Van Dyke rode in as he briefly followed the 17-year-old McDonald before shooting him 16 times in the middle of Pulaski Road on the Southwest Side on Oct. 20, 2014.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Law Department released the videos from five separate police vehicles to the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday in response to an open records request. The videos, released on DVDs, included the one widely circulated publicly Tuesday that shows the most complete coverage of the shooting released to date.
All told, the videos show at least eight police vehicles responding to the shooting scene, and now the Emanuel administration has released videos from five of those vehicles. But no video has been provided from the three other vehicles, all of which were at the scene as the shooting unfolded.
The Chicago Tribune asked police, prosecutors and the mayor’s office whether those vehicles had video and requested any such video under open records law. The city has not responded to those questions.
Chicago Police Department orders require officers to use in-car video if the vehicle is equipped with it. According to that order, the in-car video system will automatically engage audio and video recording when the vehicle’s emergency lights are activated. Officers may also manually engage the recording system without activating the lights.