Live

Watch CBSN Live

Chicago teen's family calls for calm as police shooting video is released

CHICAGO -- The family of a black teenager fatally shot by a white Chicago police officer called for calm as the city released a video of the shooting.

Lawyers issued a statement Tuesday on behalf of Laquan McDonald's family. It came hours after Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the death of the teen, who was shot 16 times.

The statement says, "No one understands the anger more than us but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful." It adds, "Don't resort to violence in Laquan's name."

Graphic video shows Chicago police shooting

City officials and community leaders have been bracing for the release of the video, fearing an outbreak of unrest and demonstrations similar to those that occurred in cities including Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, after young black men were slain by police or died in police custody.

"People have a right to be angry. People have a right to protest. People have a right to free speech. But they do not have a right to ... criminal acts," Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said.

The relevant portion of the video runs for less than 40 seconds and has no audio.

McDonald, 17, swings into view on a four-lane street where police vehicles are stopped in the middle of the roadway. As he jogs down an empty lane, he appears to pull up his pants and then slows to a brisk walk, veering away from two officers who are emerging from a vehicle and drawing their guns.

Almost immediately, one of the officers appears to fire from close range. McDonald spins around and crumples to the pavement. The second officer simultaneously lowers his weapon.

laquan-mcdonald-shooting.jpg
Laquan McDonald, right, walks on a road before he was shot 16 times by police officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago, in this still image taken from a police vehicle dash camera video shot on October 20, 2014, and released by Chicago Police on November 24, 2015. REUTERS

The car with the camera continues to roll forward until the officers are out of the frame. Then McDonald can be seen lying on the ground, moving occasionally. At least two small puffs of smoke are seen coming off his body as the officer continues firing.

In the final moments, an officer kicks something out of McDonald's hands.

Police have said the teen had a knife. Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Tuesday that a three-inch knife with its blade folded into the handle was recovered from the scene.

Shortly after the video's release, protesters began marching through streets. Several hundred people blocked traffic on the near West Side. Some circled police cars in an intersection and chanted "16 shots."

#Chicago will stand for justice. Don't think a riot is needed. 💯

A video posted by Sy 💰 (@clb_lemon) on

"I'm so hurt and so angry," said Jedidiah Brown, a South Side activist and pastor who had just seen the video. "I can feel pain through my body."

Officers on Tuesday night formed a line in front of the department's District 1 headquarters in the South Loop, blocking anyone from entering. Protesters yelled at police, with some chanting, "Don't shoot me."

No violence was immediately reported. A police spokesman told the Associated Press that two protesters had been arrested. The spokesman said he didn't know on what charge.

Chicago cop charged with murder of black teen

The judge who ordered the dash-cam recording to be released said it must be put out by Wednesday after city officials had argued for months it couldn't be made public until the conclusion of several investigations.

A judge denied Van Dyke bond at a noon hearing. About an hour later, Alvarez held a news conference where she defended the amount of time it took to charge the officer in the Oct. 20, 2014, killing of McDonald.

Alvarez said Tuesday that cases involving police officers present "highly complex" legal issues and she would rather take the time to get it right than "rush to judgment." She said the impending release of the video prompted her to move up the announcement of the charge out of concern the footage would spark violence.

"It is graphic. It is violent. It is chilling," she said of the video. "To watch a 17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing. I have absolutely no doubt that this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans."

But she insisted that she made a decision "weeks ago" to charge the officer and the video's ordered release did not influence that.

Some community leaders said there was no doubt that Alvarez only brought charges because of the order to release the video.

Protesters scuffle with police in Chicago

"This is a panicky reaction to an institutional crisis within the criminal justice system," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said he hoped to see "massive" but peaceful demonstrations.

Jeff Neslund, an attorney for McDonald's family, told CBS Chicago recently that the dashboard camera video shows a brutal "execution." He says it proves the teen was walking away when he was shot.

"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. "What you see are graphic puffs of smoke rising from Laquan and intermittently his body twitching, in reaction to the shots."

An autopsy report said McDonald was shot at least twice in his back. It also said PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, was found in the teen's system.

laquan-mcdonald-autopsy.jpg
An autopsy diagram provided by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office shows the location of wounds on the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. CBS News

The city's hurried attempts to defuse tensions also included a community meeting, official statements of outrage at the officer's conduct and an abrupt announcement Monday night that another officer who's been the subject of protests for months might now be fired.

Activists and journalists have long pressed for the video's release only to be told that it had to be kept private as long as the shooting was under investigation. After the judge's order to release it, the investigation was quickly wrapped up and a charge announced.

Chicago on edge after police killing of black teen

"You had this tape for a year and you are only talking to us now because you need our help keeping things calm," the Rev. Corey Brooks said of Monday night's community gathering with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In a statement Tuesday, Emanuel said it was up to the justice system to hold Van Dyke accountable.

Emanuel's statement said Van Dyke's "actions violated ... the moral standards that bind our community together." The mayor says the officer's actions "are in no way a reflection of the dedication and professionalism that our police officers exemplify every day and that our residents expect throughout our city."

On the night of the shooting, police were responding to complaints about someone breaking into cars and stealing radios.

Van Dyke was the only officer of the several who were on the scene to open fire. Alvarez said the officer emptied his 9 mm pistol of all 16 rounds and that he was on the scene for just 30 seconds before he started shooting. She said he opened fire just six seconds after getting out of his vehicle and kept firing even though McDonald dropped to the ground after the initial shots.

Assistant State's Attorney Bill Delaney said at the hearing Tuesday the shooting lasted 14 to 15 seconds and that McDonald was on the ground for 13 of those seconds.

Van Dyke's attorney, Dan Herbert, maintains his client feared for his life and acted lawfully and that the video about to be released doesn't tell the whole story. Van Dyke, though stripped of his police powers, has been assigned to desk duty since the shooting.

Herbert said the case needs to be tried in a courtroom and "can't be tried in the streets, can't be tried on social media and can't be tried on Facebook."

Chicago police also moved late Monday to discipline a second officer who had shot and killed an unarmed black woman in 2012 in another incident causing tensions between the department and minority communities. Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended firing Officer Dante Servin for the shooting of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, saying Servin showed "incredibly poor judgment." A judge acquitted Servin of involuntary manslaughter and other charges last April, and Alvarez was accused of having not prosecuted the case properly.

Jackson said a special prosecutor should oversee the Van Dyke case instead of Alvarez's office.

None of the city's outreach will be able to stop protests once the video is released, said Jedidiah Brown, another of the pastors who attended the meeting with Emanuel. Emotions are running too high, he added.

The fears of unrest stem from long-standing tensions between Chicago police and its minority communities, partly due to the department's dogged reputation for brutality, particularly involving blacks. Dozens of men, mostly African-American, said they were subjected to torture from a Chicago police squad headed by former commander Jon Burge during the 1970s, '80s and early '90s, and many spent years in prison. Burge was eventually convicted of lying about the torture and served 4½ years in prison.

View CBS News In