CHICAGO (CBS) — It’s a burning question: When will the city release a video that shows a Chicago police officer fatally shooting a teenager?
Behind the scenes, officials are meeting to determine the timing of the release of the police dash-cam footage and putting plans in place in deal with the public’s reaction.
Meantime on Friday, the attorney for the Chicago police officer who shot and killed the teen on the city’s West Side, said the officer broke no laws or department regulations.
Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama said police must release the video by Nov. 25.
The video shows Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. People who have seen the video says it is violent and excessive. Some call it an execution.
Now, the officer’s attorney is telling the cop’s side.
“He firmly believed he was in fear for his life and concerned about the life of his fellow officers,” said attorney Dan Herbert, adding the McDonald was close enough to Van Dyke to justify the shooting.
“There is this 21-foot rule,” Herbert said. “It talks about how an individual is a significant threat to police officer when they’re in that 21-foot boundary.”
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. Van Dyke claimed McDonald lunged at him with the knife.
On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had a different view.
“Police officers are entrusted to uphold the law, and to provide safety to our residents. In this case unfortunately, it appears an officer violated that trust at every level. As a result, the city’s Independent Police Review Authority promptly sent this case and the evidence to state and federal prosecutors who have been investigating it for almost a year.”
So far, there have been no charges as a result of any investigation.
Meanwhile both at City Hall and police headquarters, planning continued on the court-ordered release of the video, and the expected reaction.
A possible indictment or some kind of statement by prosecutors could come before the city releases the video by Nov. 25, Levine reports.
Emanuel said earlier this week that should give federal and Cook County prosecutors “time to expeditiously bring their investigation to a conclusion so Chicago can begin to heal.”
The clear implication: They could help soften the blow.
Meanwhile, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is facing a primary challenge. Her opponents have criticized her for the pace of the investigation into the shooting.
The mayor is due back from China Monday. The judge’s deadline is Wednesday.
Police Union president Dean Angelo was among those meeting with police Supt. Garry McCarthy.
“Demonstrations are one thing; violent behavior are completely different,” Angelo said. “It’s the violence I’m concerned about.
“It’s outside people that I’m concerned about, people who come in for the express purpose of these disturbances.
“They were here for NATO. Their job is to disrupt and cause problems. Local people don’t want to see their neighborhoods damaged.”
All Chicago plain police officers have in uniform since the terrorist attacks in Paris and will remain so.
The city agreed to a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family even before a lawsuit was filed. The officer, a 14-year veteran, has been stripped of his police powers, pending a federal investigation of the shooting.