CHICAGO — Newly released videos from four other police cars offer new perspective on the moments before and after the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who has been charged with first-degree murder.
One of the videos, out of focus as it is, appears to be from the police vehicle in which Van Dyke was a passenger. As the vehicle approaches a nearby Burger King, an image of Laquan McDonald appears, cutting in front of the vehicle and then running across the front of the restaurant onto Pulaski Road.
The new video released Wednesday also shows other squads responding rapidly to the scene. One dashcam reveals an ambulance staged nearby, about five minutes after the shooting. Some police vehicles are on the scene for just a matter of seconds, before peeling around and helping set up a perimeter. But from the grainy video, WGN counts at least 10 different cars and SUVs. Most would have dashboard cameras and the city has released video from five so far. None have audio — a technical glitch the police superintendent says the department is working to iron out.
Even without sound, the pictures are revealing, and not just the blurry shot that shows the last minutes of McDonald’s life, but the one from a responding unit that pulls up alongside the Burger King and reminds us how close it was to the scene of the shooting. There have been allegations that Chicago police may have tampered with surveillance video from the restaurant, deleting 86 minutes. Police insist that did not happen.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez addressed that question somewhat awkwardly at Tuesday’s news conference: “The video at the Burger King was something that came up and it was something that was looked at, but it should be noted that the cameras at the Burger King would not have captured the shooting. It doesn’t appear that they’ve been tampered with, and did not reveal any of that kind of evidence, however, the investigation will always continue.”
WGN has five dashcam recordings now. Several more exist and have not been released, but police and prosecutors say none show the Laquan McDonald shooting more clearly than the graphic video released Tuesday. One video, that WGN has chosen not to broadcast, shows a close view of McDonald lying in the street moments after being shot. An object that appears be a knife is lying next to him.