Criminal Justice

Chicago cop is charged with murder in teen's shooting death; video will be released by Wednesday

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A Chicago police officer was charged with murder on Tuesday for shooting a Chicago teen 16 times. The incident was caught on video set to be released by Wednesday as a result of a judge’s order.

The officer, Jason Van Dyke, is shown on the dash-cam video jumping out of his squad car and firing at the youth, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, lawyers for McDonald’s family told the Chicago Tribune. The Chicago Sun-Times and the New York Times also have stories.

Some said the video shows Van Dyke continuing to fire after McDonald had fallen to the ground, according to the Times account. The coroner found that nine of the 16 bullet wounds had a downward trajectory, the Tribune reports. The other five officers on the scene did not fire their weapons. Van Dyke is white and McDonald was black.

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez announced the first-degree murder charge on Tuesday. The federal government was also investigating the incident.

Van Dyke’s lawyer, Dan Herbert, maintains his client feared for his safety when he fired the shots in October 2014. Police have said McDonald had refused an order to drop his four-inch knife and was behaving erratically. An autopsy found PCP in McDonald’s system, according to the Tribune account.

The city has already agreed to pay a $5 million settlement to McDonald’s family members, though they had not yet filed a lawsuit.

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