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Judge orders release of fatal police shooting video

CHICAGO -- A Cook County judge has ordered Chicago police to release dashboard camera video of a white officer fatally shooting a black teen last year, but city attorneys said they plan to appeal the ruling, CBS Chicago reports.

The video in question shows a Chicago police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014.

Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama said police must release the video by Nov. 25.

Ahead of today's ruling, Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office sent a letter to police this month saying they had "unsubstantiated" claims that releasing the footage to a journalist would hinder an investigation or deprive anyone of a fair trial. The letter said police had no legal right to withhold the video because another agency, the Independent Police Review Authority, was conducting the investigation.

City attorneys immediately filed a motion to halt the release of the video while they appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, but the judge denied their request, noting they have time to request a stay of his ruling from the appellate court before they would otherwise have to make the video public.

Police have said McDonald was under the influence of PCP, and slashing the tires of several cars with a 4-inch folding knife, when he refused police officers' orders to drop the weapon.

Those who have seen the police dashboard video have said it's shocking and disturbing, and some are extremely concerned about how the public will react to it, fearing it could spark unrest.

Two attorneys for McDonald's family - Jeff Neslund and Mike Robbins - subpoenaed the video, and have watched it. They have described the shooting as an "execution."

The video shows McDonald being shot 16 times by a single officer, who is a 14-year veteran of the force.

"The first shot or two seem to spin him on the ground. He falls down. He's down on the ground, and for the next 30 seconds or so, in this video, the officer just continues to shoot," Neslund said earlier this month. "What you see are graphic puffs of smoke rising from Laquan and intermittently his body twitching, in reaction to the shots."

The city agreed to a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family even before a lawsuit was filed. The officer involved has been stripped of his police powers, pending a federal investigation of the shooting.

The officer has claimed McDonald lunged at him with the knife, but attorneys who have seen the video said at no point was McDonald seen lunging at anyone.

A Wall Street Journal reporter and the Chicago Tribune have submitted FOIA requests for the video, but the requests have been denied.

The city has said releasing the video would interfere with the investigation, and jeopardize a fair trial.

McDonald's mother hasn't seen the video, and she doesn't want it shown publicly, because she fears it could spark riots.

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