Chicago Police Killing of Laquan McDonald Exposes System Built On Lies

Showtime is airing a new documentary “16 Shots” about the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014.

Van Dyke shot the black teen 16 times, which includes shots after McDonald dropped to the street, according to witnesses who also said McDonald was running away from the police, not towards them as falsely claimed in the police report.

The witnesses also recalled how they were illegally detained and bullied by the police told them to change their stories “because it’s not good to lie.”

Van Dyke was found guilty in 2018 of second-degree murder, but was only sentenced to six years and nine months in prison.

Rick Rowley, the director of “16 Shots,” told Democracy Now how the Chicago police tried to cover-up the shooting by seizing and erasing a surveillance video from a Burger King without a warrant:

We show the moment that every single actor along this process kind of steps in, from the beat cops who initially respond. The first thing they do is they erase—it seems very clear, they destroy evidence. They erase this surveillance video that’s from a Burger King that’s across the street.

Eighty minutes are just erased off the machine. They shoo away witnesses. They take some civilian witnesses back to City Hall. And those witnesses described to us—you know, for the first time on camera, in this film, they described being threatened by officers and being coerced into trying to say that they didn’t see what they saw.

Then, you know, immediately what happens is the spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, the police union in Chicago, comes out, and he creates the first version of this story. And that’s the story that goes out to the press everywhere.

You know, and that is almost always the first and last story. I mean, there are 30 to 60 police shootings a year in Chicago, every week or every other week. You know, in the course of my lifetime, that’s thousands of people who have been shot. And the cases all end in the same way: a small like note in the end of the press, and then we turn the page.

(Source: Democracy Now, 16 Shots)/Showtime)

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