Laquan McDonald
WGN-TV Screenshot

A Chicago judge has ordered police to release by Wednesday dash-cam video that reportedly shows the fatal October 2014 police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times, the Huffington Post reports.

Laquan's family say that they believe the teen was walking away when he was shot and that he may have been shot several times while he was on the ground. Police say that at the time of the shooting, Laquan was acting erratically while handling a 4-inch knife and that he disobeyed orders to drop the weapon, the Huffington Post reports.


The footage of the shooting has been hotly contested, with news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune, filing several requests to have the video released. "Police and city officials, including Mayor Rahm Emanuel, had refused to share it, citing an ongoing federal investigation into the shooting and concern that airing it would impede a fair trial later," the Huffington Post reports.

Cook County Judge Franklin Valderrama on Thursday ordered police to release the video. In a separate decision, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also ruled against the police, finding that they didn't prove how releasing the footage would impede a fair trial.


Laquan's mother says she is worried that releasing the video may cause civil unrest in the city, like that seen in Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore. The footage is reportedly graphic, and the imagery of a white police officer fatally shooting a black teen may touch on a raw nerve for many nationwide, given the recent deaths of several black teens at the hands of police. 

The Huffington Post notes that in an unusual move, the city, having viewed the video, already approved a $5 million payment to Laquan's family, even before the family filed a lawsuit.


The police union says that Laquan lunged at the officer with the knife and that the officer shot the teen out of fear for his life. But the Huffington Post reports that even the city attorney has said that the teen, who, an autopsy found, had the drug PCP in his system, was walking away when he was shot 16 times.

The officer who shot Laquan has not been identified and has not been charged in the shooting. He has been restricted to desk duty while the shooting is reviewed. "A grand jury decision on whether to indict him could come as early as next week," the Huffington Post reports.


Read more at the Huffington Post