Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Chicago Shooting

Yesterday, the Chicago Police, pursuant to a judge's order, released the dash cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black youth, by a Chicago cop last year. The same day, it was announced that the cop, Jason Van Dyck, was charged with first degree murder. As the video went viral, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of District 1 police headquarters downtown and protested through the night. It was mostly peaceful.

The video shows McDonald, apparently under the influence of PCP and a knife in his hand, walking down the middle of a street and being confronted by police cars who had been called to the scene. As McDonald is walking by one police car and turning away from two policemen with guns drawn, Van Dyke apparently opened fire on McDonald dropping him to the ground. A total of 16 shots were pumped into McDonald all apparently by Van Dyke. There is no audio.

Van Dyke is entitled to a trial and there may be more facts that arise, but from what I have seen on the video, this looks very bad, indeed. McDonald did appear to have his left hand in his pocket with the knife in his right hand. We don't know what commands were given to him before Van Dyke opened fire, but McDonald was shot multiple times after he hit the ground.

Of course, this could not come at a worse time, and it only adds to the narrative of white cops shooting black suspects. Never mind that amid these cases, tens of thousands of arrests are carried out without incident day in and day out. Never mind that the overwhelming majority of these shootings are justified (Michael Brown). Once again, all cops are being painted with a big brush, and that isn't fair.

What also looks suspicious is the charges coming the same day that the video was finally released. Why did it take so long to conduct the investigation?

I am also going to level some mild criticism here at Sean Hannity, a person whom I greatly admire. He has a habit of telling his on the scene reporters to ask demonstrators hard questions, questions that are entirely appropriate, but questions that could result in his reporter getting punched in the mouth someday. He did it again last night, telling a Fox News reporter to ask demonstrators why they don't march when blacks kill other blacks in Chicago, something that happens thousands of times a year. It's an appropriate question, but if I were the reporter, I think I would prefer to choose my own questions- being in a volatile situation.

Just nit-picking here.

Anyway, I hope the people of Chicago keep it peaceful. The system is working, albeit slowly. As for Officer Van Dyke, he needs a good lawyer because this looks like a bad shooting. I will await the trial when all the facts come out, but the video is troubling, to say the least. He is going to have to make a case that he feared McDonald had another weapon besides that knife and still posed a threat (in his mind) while on the ground. That is not going to be an easy task.

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