Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder. The video involved with the incident in which he has been charged was released on Tuesday after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy held a televised news conference at 4:30 in the afternoon, according to the Chicago Tribune. However, Emanuel said that he had not seen the video as of yet and it would not be released to the public just yet. However, it was released by 6 PM Chicago time. The video, by court order, had to be released by Wednesday. It is anticipated that the release of the video will ignite protests in the city. Besides Emanuel, McCarthy and community political and religious leaders calling for calm after the video is released, the murdered teens’ family is calling for the same. Authorities have stressed that concerned citizens have a right to free speech but encourage a calm form of protest at the same time.
Van Dyke was charged in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was killed in October 2014, according to a Reuters report on Tuesday. A statement from State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez confirmed the story by saying that Van Dyke was processed at Chicago’s main criminal courthouse and appeared at a bond hearing at noon, Central Standard Time. Alvarez stated that the charges were made on Tuesday because she wanted them to be made prior to the release of the video. The officer is being held without bond at this time.
Apparently, the video will be released on Wednesday as previously announced. That video allegedly shows Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times. It has been reported by NBC News that it took 6 seconds for the officer to exit his car and another 15 seconds to shoot 16 times. In the shooting incident, 17-year-old McDonald was killed. Previously, Chicago has paid McDonald’s family $5 million in a civil settlement in relation to the deadly shooting. NBC Chicago has said that it will post the video on its website after the network has viewed it.
Via Van Dyke’s attorney and the Chicago Police Union, the officer has said that the shooting was justified. It was said to have been justified because the officer felt he was threatened by McDonald. During the incident, it has been alleged that McDonald was holding a knife. Some reports allege that drug use was part of the story as well. It has been literally decades since a Chicago policeman has been indicted for fatally shooting someone while the officer was on the job, says CNN.
On Monday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met via teleconferences with Chicago community and religious leaders. The crux of the conversations were to hope that the city will remain calm when the video is released on Wednesday. Naturally, Chicago is hoping it will not turn into Ferguson revisited with violence and looting as was seen last year. This incident in Chicago occurred when the nation was troubled by alleged police brutality. Killings by police officers have stirred protests throughout the United States, beyond Ferguson, for the past 18 months or more. Whether or not the first-degree murder charges will calm the anticipated stormy protests when the video is released is yet to be seen.