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  Chicago officer charged in black teen’s murder

Chicago officer charged in black teen’s murder

REUTERS
Published : Nov 26, 2015, 3:22 am IST
Updated : Nov 26, 2015, 3:22 am IST

A white Chicago policeman was charged with murdering a black teenager on Tuesday, hours before authorities released a graphic video showing the youth walking away from officers as he is shot 16 times.

A white Chicago policeman was charged with murdering a black teenager on Tuesday, hours before authorities released a graphic video showing the youth walking away from officers as he is shot 16 times.

The footage of last year’s shooting, taken from a camera mounted on the dashboard of a police car and made public under orders from a judge, prompted mostly peaceful street demonstrations in Chicago.

The clip showed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who authorities said was carrying a pocket knife and had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system, as he was gunned down in the middle of a street on October 20, 2014.

McDonald is seen jogging away from patrol vehicles pursuing him from behind, and then veering off diagonally at a walk as two more officers pull up in a squad car ahead of him.

Two policemen are shown jumping out of their vehicle in the center of the road, and drawing their weapons while advancing toward McDonald, who continues to move away. Within seconds he is struck by bullets, spins and crumples to the ground, his body jerking as he is hit by additional rounds of gunfire.

McDonald’s death came at a time of intense national debate over police use of deadly force, especially against minorities.

Officer Jason Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer charged with murder for an on-duty incident in decades.

Cook County’s chief prosecutor, Anita Alvarez, acknowledged that she timed the filing of the first-degree murder charge against Van Dyke to precede the video’s disclosure in a bid to mute harsh public reaction to the footage.

“With release of this video it’s really important for public safety that the citizens of Chicago know that this officer is being held responsible for his actions,” she said.

The video originally was expected to be released a day later, in compliance with the Wednesday deadline set by a judge. However, the police said they made the clip public Tuesday evening after it was leaked to a local television station.

Location: United States, Illinois, Chicago