Chicago police killed Laquan Mcdonald, threatened witnesses

This 10 December 2015 video, recorded in the USA, is called Protests in Chicago over Laquan MacDonald killing.

By George Gallanis in the USA:

Chicago police accused of threatening witnesses of Laquan Mcdonald shooting and falsifying accounts

9 January 2016

Lawyers for the family of Laquan McDonald have accused Chicago police officers of threatening at least three people who witnessed McDonald’s murder by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. According to the attorneys the witnesses were interrogated for hours and forced to change their accounts from the night of the shooting.

On October 20th, 2014, Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times as he walked away from Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. Video of the execution style murder was suppressed by the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel … for over a year.

In an interview with CNN, attorneys for the McDonald family, Jeffrey Neslund and Michael Robbins, stated that they discovered further evidence of a cover-up by the CPD while reading over witness statements from the night of the shooting released as part of a freedom of information request by [the] family.

“You have a false narrative put out by police, outright lies to cover up an illegal shooting, corroborated by other officers,” Robbins told CNN.

The official witness summaries from the night of the shooting were signed off on and approved by a Chicago police lieutenant on March 15, 2015, nearly five months after the event and nine days after attorneys Neslund and Robbins requested information from the CPD.

The summaries produced by the CPD stated that five people were located in the vicinity of the shooting but none had actually witnessed it. According to the official reports, two witnesses “did not see or hear anything,” While another witness allegedly heard the gunshots and then saw McDonald “lying in the street.” The final two witnesses stated they had seen McDonald being chased by police, but did not witness the shooting.

One only needs to take a cursory glance at the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald to see that this is a complete lie. The video itself shows what is most likely a non-police car on the right side of the frame. The car is seen stopping as police cars assemble on the middle of the street and remains there after the shooting. It is highly unlikely that the driver of the vehicle did not witness anything. Additionally, the street where McDonald was murdered, Pulaski Road, is a major street that routinely has significant traffic. With an assemblage of police cars, lights glaring, stationed in the middle of the street, it is also highly unlikely that there would be no witnesses to the shooting

In fact, Robbins told CNN that a father and his son had witnessed the shooting while driving in their car nearby. The father was told by a uniformed officer “to get out of there immediately, to drive off or be arrested.” Robbins commented, “This is somebody who is an occurrence witness to a fatal shooting. Nobody asked him, ‘What did you see?’”

Meanwhile, three witnesses were brought to a police station by officers where they were interrogated for hours. The witnesses were a truck driver who witnessed the shooting from a Burger King parking lot nearby, and a woman and her friend. All three witnesses were interviewed separately for hours, during which they were intimidated by the police and told to lie about what they had seen.

Speaking on behalf of the truck driver, Robbins said, “He kept describing it and he said the police were visibly angry with him and arguing with him about what happened, saying, ‘That’s not what happened,’” “He’d say, ‘Well, that’s what I saw.’ They said, ‘No, you’re wrong.’” Robbins told CNN that the truck driver told the police that he had to leave to go to work for a 6 am shift, at which point, “The police said, ‘We don’t give a f—- about your truck. Let’s go through this again.’”

“The truck driver says he did tell police, that it was like an execution,” Robbins stated. “What he described was what we saw in the video.”

“We saw these (summaries) by the three witnesses who were interviewed at the station—that police say they didn’t see anything. We said, ‘Where’s the witness statements?’ We were told there were no witness statements,” Robbins concluded.

Neslund stated that the female witness had yelled to Van Dyke as he emptied his clip into Laquan McDonald’s body to “Stop shooting.” According to Neslund, she told the McDonald family, “There’s a reason they kept us there ‘til 4 a.m. One officer said he was going to get me.”

“We saw these (summaries) by the three witnesses who were interviewed at the station—that police say they didn’t see anything. We said, ‘Where’s the witness statements?’ We were told there were no witness statements,” Robbins stated to CNN. “Significantly in our view, of these three witnesses—the truck driver, the woman and her companion—none of them were asked to sign a statement.”

Neslund went on to tell CNN, “It’s not just the officers on the street. It’s a lieutenant, a sergeant and detectives—and the lengths they went to justify what simply was not true.”

On Thursday, a Chicago judge released video of the deadly 2013 shooting of 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman by Chicago police. The video was concealed by the Chicago Police Department for three years, and an investigator was fired for opposing police claims that the killing was justified: here.

Records show “intentional destruction” of dashcams by Chicago cops: here.

Killing of Laquan McDonald covered up by Chicago, USA police

This 17 December video from the USA is called Chicago: Laquan McDonald Protest.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

United States: Emails expose cover up of teens’ killing

Saturday 2nd January 2016

Chicago officials tried to bury evidence about police shooting

by Our Foreign Desk

NEWLY released email correspondence has indicated a cover-up by authorities in the US city of Chicago over the police shooting of a black teenager.

Thousands of messages were released in response to freedom of information requests from media related to the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The messages released on Thursday clearly indicate that advisers to Mayor Rahm Emanuel knew the case could be politically explosive.

Mr McDonald was shot 16 times in October 2014 by police officer Jason Van Dyke. A folded three-inch pen knife was found on his body.

A video captured on the cop’s dashboard camera showing the youth retreating from the officer before being shot was withheld from the public for more than year by Mr Emanuel.

Mr Van Dyke pleaded not guilty this week to a charge of murder.

Mayoral spokesman Adam Collins sent a flurry of emails about media inquiries about the video, which the McDonald family’s lawyers were first shown in March 2015.

While the mayor denied seeing the damning footage before its release — a claim challenged by campaigners — the correspondence from Mr Collins shows that his department was already concerned about its effect.

The emails also indicate that Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) co-ordinated its response to the shooting with the mayor’s office and the police department.

IPRA chief administrator Scott Ando emailed the mayor’s deputy chief of staff Janey Rountree with a link to a website that raised questions about police accounts of the shooting.

And a March 11 email from Mr Ando asked for witness interview transcripts “for their use in settlement negotiations with” the McDonald family.

In May Mr Collins cautioned IPRA spokesman Larry Merritt to “tread lightly” when a reporter asked for an interview about the case.

And in the same month Mr Collins complained to colleagues that the IPRA did not follow his recommendation on how to respond to a TV station about Mr McDonald.

Just before the video’s release Mr Collins wrote to police and law department representatives urging them to speak with “one voice” on the topic.

Facing a growing political crisis stemming from his role in the cover-up of the October 2014 police murder of Laquan McDonald, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last Wednesday so-called “reform” measures that will, in fact, increase the ability of the police to violently attack workers and youth while doing nothing to halt the wave of police murders: here.

Quintonio LeGrier, Bettie Jones killed in Chicago, USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

Oops! Cops “Accidentally” Kill Two More Black People

28 December 2015

Police officials admit to shooting two innocent individuals accidentally. 19 year old Quintonio Legrier and 55 year old Bettie Jones were shot by police in two separate incidents. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (The Point) hosts of The Young Turks discuss.

Do you think police are trained to shoot first and ask questions later? Let us know in the comments below.

“Already rocked by protests over a string of officer-involved shootings, the Chicago Police Department is offering ‘condolences’ for two more victims: a student and a grandma.

He was a promising engineering student who grew up in foster care and was determined to make something of himself. She was a mother of five who loved church and dancing, and had just hosted her family Christmas.

In the early hours of Dec. 26, both were killed by Chicago cops responding to a 911 call over the student—a heartbreaking incident that comes weeks after the U.S. Department of Justice announced an investigation into the Chicago Police Department’s use of excessive force against minorities.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

United States: Protests over latest police shooting

Tuesday 29th December 2015

by Our Foreign Desk

FRIENDS and relatives of two black neighbours shot dead by police in the US city of Chicago gathered in protest on Sunday.

University student Quintonio LeGrier and grandmother Bettie Jones were killed on Saturday morning after police were called to deal with an argument between the teenager and his father Antonio LeGrier at their upstairs flat in the two-storey building.

Police claimed that officers “were confronted by a combative subject resulting in the discharging of the officer’s weapon,” adding that Ms Jones “was accidentally struck.”

Mr LeGrier Jnr was home for Christmas holidays from Northern Illinois University, where he studied electrical engineering.

He was outside the downstairs flat, reportedly holding a baseball bat, when the police arrived. His father heard Ms Jones shout: “Whoa, whoa, whoa!” before police shot his son multiple times.

“I used to watch the news daily and I would grieve for other mothers, other family members, and now today I’m grieving myself,” Mr LeGrier’s mother Janet Cooksey told reporters on Sunday.

“Why do (police) have to shoot first and ask questions later?” Ms Jones’s friend Jacqueline Walker asked. “It’s ridiculous.”

On Sunday the Washington Post reported that 965 people had been shot dead by US police in 2015, 90 of whom were unarmed.

The report said that while black men represented 6 per cent of the US population, they made up 40 per cent of those shot dead by police this year.

Three out of five of those killed who were not armed with a gun had either black or Latin American heritage, the report said.

Chicago, USA police kill teenager, woman

This video from Chicago in the USA says about itself:

College Student and 55-Year Old Woman Shot Dead by Police on West Side

26 December 2015

RIP Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones

By Sebastian Murdock in the USA:

Chicago Cop Shoots Dead Teen, 55-Year-Old Woman

“We’re thinking the police are going to serve us, take him to the hospital. They took his life.”

12/26/2015 01:19 pm ET | Updated 3 hours ago

A Chicago officer responding to a domestic disturbance call fatally shot a teenager being treated for a mental illness, along with a 55-year-old woman.

Officers responded to the call at an apartment complex early Saturday, after the father of 19-year-old Quintonio Legrier called police to say his son was acting erratic and carrying a metal baseball bat.

“He was having a mental situation,” Legrier’s mother, Janet Cooksey, told ABC 7. “Sometimes he will get loud, but not violent.

The officer, who has not yet been identified, fatally shot Legrier seven times, the teen’s family said.

“We’re thinking the police are going to service us, take him to the hospital,” Cooksey told the Chicago Tribune. “They took his life.

A second victim, who has been identified as 55-year-old Bettie Jones, was a downstairs tenant and bystander. Her daughter, Latisha Jones, told the Tribune she found her mother dead with a gunshot wound to her neck.

“She wasn’t saying anything,” Latisha Jones told the publication. “I had to keep checking for a pulse.”

The Independent Police Review Authority is investigating the shooting.

Chicago police said that Jones was “accidentally struck and tragically killed” by the officer, who has been placed on administrative duty for 30 days. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also issued a statement, saying that “anytime an officer uses force the public deserves answers, and regardless of the circumstances, we all grieve anytime there is a loss of life in our city.”

Loved ones demand answers after Chicago police kill two: here.

It looks like the ‘shoot first, think later’ mentality is coming back from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. to the USA.

On December 26, a college student and a bakery worker were shot and killed by one or more members of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in an incident on the west side of the city. In a separate incident that day, a 26-year-old father was shot five times and seriously injured by CPD officers on the far south side of the city. The killings in Chicago add to the daily list of victims of police violence. According the news aggregator, 1,185 people have been killed by cops in 2015 so far, a 6.7 percent increase over the 1,108 killed in 2014: here.

Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald murdered, police boss fired

This video, recorded in the USA, says about itself:

25 November 2015

The murder of Laquan McDonald was covered up by Chicago police. Here’s what happened.

By Kim Bellware, Reporter, The Huffington Post in the USA today:

Chicago Mayor Fires City Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy

The officer has faced harsh criticism in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting.

Posted: 12/01/2015 11:59 AM EST | Edited: 8 minutes ago

CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department‘s top cop has been fired.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said at a press conference Tuesday that he had fired Superintendent Garry McCarthy. The 56-year-old has faced harsh criticism for his handling of the high-profile shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager shot 16 times in 2014 by a Chicago police officer.

Last Tuesday, McCarthy and Emanuel appeared in a joint press conference ahead of release of the damming dashcam footage that both the department and the mayor’s office had tried to keep from going public. The video shows the officer, Jason Van Dyke, shooting the teen in the middle of the street as he walks away from police.

Emanuel’s hand-picked McCarthy as the city’s top cop in 2011.

This is a developing story. Check back for more updates.

Chicago demonstration, AFP photo

This is a photo of a demonstration in Chicago against the killing of Laquan McDonald. The sign alludes to the racist organisation K[u] K[lux] K[lan].

Police chief’s resignation spurs demands that Chicago cops’ secret facility be closed: here.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Garry McCarthy, the Chicago police superintendent, on Tuesday in an effort to appease mounting popular anger over police violence and the cover-up of the killing of Laquan McDonald: here.

DOJ TO INVESTIGATE CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT The Department of Justice will look into the misuse of “deadly force, discriminatory policing and internal misconduct to determine if they amount to civil rights violations.” The Chicago police department has been under fire after it reportedly buried the video of an officer shooting a teenager 16 times. [Kim Bellware, HuffPost]

Prosecutors Release Video Of Chicago Police Fatally Shooting Black Man. The Cook County state’s attorney will not file criminal charges against the officer: here.

In a press conference Monday, Anita Alvarez, Cook County state attorney, announced that no charges would be brought against George Hernandez, the Chicago police officer who shot and killed Ronald Johnson III, a 25-year-old man, in October 2014. In her 75-minute briefing, Alvarez showed footage of the killing from a police dashcam, previously barred from release, and sought to justify the state attorney office’s decision: here.

US border agents cleared of charges in murder of immigrant Anastasio Hernandez-Rojas: here.

17-year-old Laquan McDonald killed in Chicago, USA

This video from Chicago in the USA says about itself:

Dashcam Video of Officer Jason Van Dyke Shooting Laquan McDonald

24 November 2015

Police released a dashcam video Tuesday evening that shows a police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.

The confrontation begins at approximately 5:00.

By Nick Barrickman and Joseph Kishore in the USA:

Protests erupt in Chicago after release of video showing police murder of 17-year-old

25 November 2015

Protests erupted in Chicago Tuesday night, following the release of video footage from the October 20, 2014 police killing of Laquan McDonald by 14-year veteran cop Jason Van Dyke. Several hundred people demonstrated late into the night, and at least three arrests were made.

The release of the video shatters a year-long attempted cover-up by the Chicago Police Department and the administration of Democratic Party Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the former chief of staff for President Barack Obama. The city worked systematically to prevent the video from being made public, while lying about the circumstances behind the murder of McDonald.

Earlier on Tuesday, Illinois state prosecutors charged Van Dyke with murder in the first degree for the shooting, which occurred “without legal justification and with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm,” according to a one-page court filing.

The release of the video and the decision to charge Van Dyke come nearly a week after Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama ordered city officials to make public the footage. Charges against Van Dyke were sped up in an effort to assuage public outrage and social unrest that city officials anticipated would follow the forced release of evidence of wanton murder.

The video, which comes from a police cruiser’s dashboard camera, shows McDonald walking in the center lane of a busy thoroughfare. Van Dyke gets out of his car and, unprovoked, fires 16 bullets into the teen, who is walking away from the officers. Gun smoke visibly emanates from McDonald’s body as he is repeatedly shot while lying on the ground.

Autopsy reports show that McDonald was shot twice in the back, while 9 of the 16 bullet wounds he received had a downward trajectory.

Van Dyke, who had been placed on desk duty pending investigations by the FBI, the US attorney’s office in Chicago and the state attorney’s office for Cook County, turned himself in Tuesday. He is being held without bail.

While Emanuel is now claiming that he supports the video’s release—a transparent attempt to deflect attention from his own culpability in the cover-up—the city and Chicago Police Department in fact desperately attempted to prevent public exposure of the crime. In April, the city awarded a nearly $5 million settlement to the family of McDonald in a wrongful death lawsuit, which included a provision that the video would be kept secret.

Chicago police also reportedly deleted 86 minutes of footage from a security camera at a nearby Burger King, which would have shown the events leading up to the killing. Police refrained from interviewing witnesses to the killing, telling them simply to go home. One later described the killing as an “execution.”

As in many similar incidents, police claimed “self defense.” “He is a very serious threat to the officers, and he leaves them no choice at that point to defend themselves,” Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden declared on the night of the killing last year. “When police tell you to drop a weapon, all you have to do is drop it.”

The judicial order requiring the video’s release, exposing these lies, came only after an independent journalist sued the police department following an initial decision not to grant his Freedom of Information request. Even the existence of the video came to light only thanks to the actions of a whistleblower.

“The real issue here is, this terrible thing happened, how did our governmental institutions respond?” Jason Kalven, the reporter who first uncovered the story, told the Chicago Reporter. “And from everything we’ve learned, compulsively at every level, from the cops on the scene to the highest levels of government, they responded by circling the wagons and by fabricating a narrative that they knew was completely false.”

Van Dyke was not an unknown quantity. Eighteen complaints had been filed against the cop throughout his 14 year career in the Chicago Police Department, including for the use of excessive force and shouting racial slurs at individuals whom he had detained. Yet he remained on active duty.

The political establishment and the media are now working in overdrive to contain public anger, while also preparing for police repression of protests. In advance of the video’s release, a spokesperson for the Chicago police declared, “The department is prepared to respond to any demonstrations and will hold people accountable if they cross the line. We might use the same tactics that were used during the NATO demonstrations.”

The charging of Van Dyke after a coordinated campaign of cover-up and lies only exposes the fact that the vast majority of police murders go unpunished. The entire political establishment, from the Obama administration on down, works systematically to exonerate killer cops. Only in extraordinary circumstances—when video unambiguously shows criminal activity—are charges filed, and often these result in exoneration.

Indeed, it is exactly one year since St. Louis prosecutors announced that they would not press charges against Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Since then, more than 1,000 people have been killed by police in the United States.

A Washington Post report earlier this year found that only 54 police officers have been charged over the past decade, leading to only 11 convictions.

Significantly, it was in Chicago that the Obama administration’s FBI director, James Comey, last month criticized the prevalence of video showing police killings for creating a “chill wind blowing through American law enforcement over the last year.” In other words, the problem is not that cops are murdering unarmed individuals, but that these murders are being documented and exposed.

VIDEO RELEASED OF CHICAGO OFFICER SHOOTING TEEN 16 TIMES “City officials on Tuesday released police dashcam video showing an officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times, continuing to fire well after the youth falls to the ground. The court-ordered release of the video came hours after authorities charged Officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder in the teen’s killing.” Demonstrators took to the streets in protest. Here’s a look at Van Dyke’s problematic record, as well as the Chicago Tribune’s editorial on what this means for the city of Chicago. [Kim Bellware, HuffPost]

Laquan McDonald: Video of Chicago police shooting dead black teenager brings protests and echoes of Ferguson: here.

The conspiracy to cover up the police murder of Laquan McDonald: here.