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Chicago Braces for Shooting Protests   11/25 06:25

   CHICAGO (AP) -- The white officer who shot a black Chicago teen 16 times has 
been charged with murder and jailed. The graphic video of the slaying has been 
made public. And in the hours after the footage was released, protesters seemed 
to honor pleas for restraint.

   The question now is whether those efforts will be enough to address the 
simmering resentment that authorities took more than a year to share the 
footage and charge the officer who emptied an entire magazine into the teen 
even after he had crumpled to the ground.

   City officials and community leaders had long braced for the release of the 
dash-cam video showing the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. They feared 
the kind of turmoil that occurred in cities such as Baltimore and Ferguson, 
Missouri, after young black men were slain by police or died in police custody.

   A judge ordered that the recording be made public by Wednesday. Moments 
before it was released, the mayor and the police chief urged protesters to stay 

   Mayor Rahm Emanuel said residents will "have to make an important judgment 
about our city and ourselves and go forward." He referred to the episode as a 
potential "moment of understanding and learning."

   Protest groups are expected to stage more demonstrations in the days ahead, 
including one at City Hall scheduled for Wednesday and another seeking to block 
Michigan Avenue during Friday's holiday shopping bonanza.

   Among the protesters was Justin Taylor, an 18-year-old University of Iowa 
student who returned home to Chicago for Thanksgiving.

   "It's powerful we're coming together," Taylor said. "Things like this happen 
too often."

   The relevant portion of the video runs for less than 40 seconds and has no 

   McDonald swings into view on a four-lane street where police vehicles are 
stopped in the middle of the roadway. As he jogs down an empty lane, he appears 
to pull up his pants and then slows to a brisk walk, veering away from two 
officers who are emerging from a vehicle and drawing their guns.

   Almost immediately, one of the officers appears to fire from close range. 
McDonald spins around and collapses on the pavement.

   The car with the camera continues to roll forward until the officers are out 
of the frame. Then McDonald can be seen lying on the ground, moving 
occasionally. At least two small puffs of smoke are seen coming off his body as 
the officer continues firing.

   In the final moments, an officer kicks something out of McDonald's hands.

   Police have said the teen had a knife. Cook County State's Attorney Anita 
Alvarez said Tuesday that a 3-inch knife with its blade folded into the handle 
was recovered from the scene.

   Shortly after the video's release, protesters began marching through city 
streets. Several hundred people blocked traffic on the near West Side. Some 
circled police cars in an intersection and chanted "16 shots."

   Demonstrators, at times numbering in the hundreds, streamed through streets 
in the downtown and near South Side areas, gathering at one point outside the 
police department's District 1 headquarters.

   Later, along Michigan Avenue, at least one person was detained, which led to 
a tense moment as protesters tried to prevent police from taking him away. Some 
threw plastic water bottles at officers and sat behind a police vehicle, 
refusing to move. Officers pulled them away, and the vehicle sped off.

   The biggest group had mostly dissipated by 11 p.m., with a few dozen 
returning to the District 1 building. Another group of at least 50 people 
briefly blocked a busy expressway before walking toward a lakefront park.

   Before the release of the video, city officials spent months arguing that 
the footage could not be made public until the conclusion of several 
investigations. After the judge's order, the investigations were quickly 
wrapped up and a charge announced.

   Alvarez said concern about the impending release prompted her to move up the 
announcement of the murder charge.

   "It is graphic. It is violent. It is chilling," she said. "To watch a 
17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing. I have 
absolutely no doubt that this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans."

   But she also defended the 13 months it took to charge Officer Jason Van 
Dyke, insisting that she made a decision "weeks ago" to charge him and the 
video's ordered release did not influence that.

   Some community leaders questioned that assertion.

   "This is a panicky reaction to an institutional crisis within the criminal 
justice system," said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who said he hoped to see 
"massive" but peaceful demonstrations.

   Months after McDonald's death, the city agreed to a $5 million settlement 
with his family, even before relatives filed a lawsuit, a move that also drew 
deep skepticism from the community.

   At the time of McDonald's death, police were responding to complaints about 
someone breaking into cars and stealing radios.

   Van Dyke, who was denied bond on Tuesday, was the only officer of the 
several who were on the scene to open fire.

   Alvarez said the officer was on the scene for just 30 seconds before he 
started shooting. She said he opened fire just six seconds after getting out of 
his vehicle and kept firing even though McDonald dropped to the ground after 
the initial shots.

   At Tuesday's hearing, Assistant State's Attorney Bill Delaney said the 
shooting lasted 14 or 15 seconds and that McDonald was on the ground for 13 of 
those seconds.

   An autopsy report showed that McDonald was shot at least twice in his back 
and PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, was found in his system.

   Van Dyke's attorney, Dan Herbert, maintains his client feared for his life 
and acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story.

   After the shooting, Van Dyke was stripped of his police powers and assigned 
to desk duty.

   Herbert said the case needs to be tried in a courtroom and "can't be tried 
in the streets, can't be tried on social media and can't be tried on Facebook."


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