A video allegedly depicting a black teenager being shot and killed by a Chicago police officer last year will be released, The Guardian reports, after a Cook County judge ruled Thursday that it was not exempt from requests made under the state’s Freedom of Information Act, as city officials had previously claimed.
Laquan McDonald, 17, was shot 16 times. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement that the city would release the dashcam footage by November 25th.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked Chicago police in a letter to release the video, saying that the department’s claims that releasing the footage to a journalist would hinder an ongoing investigation were “unsubstantiated.”
An attorney for McDonald’s family, Jeffrey Neslund, who has seen the video, said the footage shows McDonald was armed with a small knife but walking away from police when an officer opened fire. He noted that McDonald’s mother does not want the video released, because she fears it could spark violence in her Chicago neighborhood similar to the riots that erupted in Baltimore and Ferguson, Missouri, after police-involved deaths of black residents.
The Chicago city council took the unusual step in April of approving a $5m settlement with McDonald’s family, even though the family had not sued, after being advised to do so by a city attorney who had seen the video.
An autopsy report showed that McDonald was shot 16 times, including at least twice in his back. The autopsy report also said McDonald had PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his system.
The video is subject to at least two FOIA requests: one from the Wall Street Journal, and one from independent journalist Brandon Smith, on whose request Judge Frank Valderrama ruled Thursday.
According to The Guardian, the family’s attorney, Neslund, said McDonald’s mother has not seen the video and does not want to. “What mother would want to see the execution of her son over and over again?” he asked.