Legal fight underway to release dash cam video of 17-year-old’s killing

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CHICAGO -- It started with a 911 call that a man was breaking into cars on the city's Southwest Side. It ended with 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot dead.

McDonald  was shot 16 times by one officer and that incident was captured on dashcam video. The city and the police department  are fighting the release of that video.

Matt Topic is the attorney arguing that the video should be released because it is in the publics best interest to do so . That transparency is what a free and open democracy is at the heart of this matter.

On the civil front, the city has already awarded McDonald's family $5 million dollars. Lawyers for the  family have previously stated that he was shot while walking away. An autopsy confirmed he was shot in the scalp, neck, elbow, legs, arm, hand and back.

So as it relates to releasing the video in terms of criminal investigation, the city's attorney today argued before Judge Franklin Valdaramma that releasing the video would jeopardize the criminal investigation into this matter.

There are three separate inquiries into what happened that night. One by the FBI, one by a grand jury and one by the independent police review authority.

The officer is on desk duty and he was one of six officers on the scene but the only one to fire his weapon.

A reporter for the Chicago Reader, Brandon Smith filed the lawsuit against the police department and the city to have thevideo released.

A union spokesman for the officer at says he only opened fired after McDonald lunged at him with a knife.

The judge will rule on this matter Nov. 19.