Police Abuse

Chicago May See an Officer Charged with First-Degree Murder for First Time in 35 Years (Updated)

Laquan McDonald, 17, shot 16 times.


I count nine entrance wounds in the back.
Cook County Medical Examiner

A case coming out of Chicago may well be the ultimate "If not for the video" example of how authorities deal with police aggression. Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke is expected to be charged with murder today in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, 17. And we will all be able to see the most important piece of evidence by tomorrow at the latest, as a judge has ordered dash camera footage of the shooting to be released.

Here's how the Washington Post described the situation:

Like so many deaths at the hands of police, Laquan McDonald's seemed at first destined to be mired in an unending he-said, she-said.

The Chicago Police Department initially stated that McDonald, a 17-year-old African American, "lunged" at officers with a knife in a Burger King parking lot. The department's longtime spokesman, Pat Camden, said at the scene that McDonald posed "a very serious threat," leaving one officer no choice but to lodge a fatal bullet into the teenager's chest.

Reporters and a few witnesses were skeptical of this account, especially after the Cook County Medical Examiner announced that McDonald in fact had "multiple" gunshot wounds. An autopsy later revealed that McDonald had been shot 16 times, in different places all over his body.

Jamie Kalven, the freelance journalist who first obtained the autopsy through a Freedom of Information Act request, called these details "the silent testimony of Laquan McDonald's corpse."

Gunshot wound of the left scalp. Gunshot wound of the neck. Gunshot wound of the right upper leg. And so on.

McDonald had PCP in his system at the time of his death and was allegedly holding a knife as reported. People are so used to scare stories about the drug turning people into superhuman monsters that it would be easy for them to believe the police's claim the young man lunged at them. But those who have seen the footage see a different story. The shooting actually started as McDonald was walking away from the police. Here's what the McDonald family's attorney saw:

"He is walking. … When the officer begins shooting, the first shots spin McDonald around. The officer continues to fire from a distance of between 12 and 15 feet. McDonald falls. The only movement is the puffs of smoke coming from the teen's torso and his head. The police officer comes into view and kicks the knife out of the boy's right hand."

Interestingly, even before this video has been released and the officer charged, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had offered the McDonald family a $5 million settlement, all while fighting the release of the footage.

Van Dyke has a history of complaints against him but no discipline. But then, according to the a police accountability nonprofit named the Invisible Institute, more 99 percent of the thousands of misconduct complaints against Chicago police this year have led to no discipline.

The Chicago Police Department has a notoriously corrupt history. But it also has a problematic present. Read more about other terrible Chicago police behavior and its secret detainment facility where it separates suspects from legal representation here

Update: Van Dyke has formally been charged with murder.

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  1. Obey or die.

    1. The only thing worse than lunging at a cop is walking away from one.

      1. Do not show your back to your betters.

      2. If you live in a place like Chicago, you better remember that, or you will end up dead.

        And it’s obviously the kind of policing the good people of Chicago want, because they keep voting for it.

  2. How many rounds does a standard service weapon hold?

    1. Enough, in this case

      1. And a hit for each one.

        This shows the focus and effectiveness of officer training: not a bullet wasted.

        1. actually, the shooting was AWFUL. 16 rounds at 12 feet and not a single shot hit center body mass.

          i could throw a handful of bullets more accurately than that.

          also: we do not know if he reloaded.

          1. You just don’t understand government accounting.

        1. +Glock Perfection

    2. Depends on the type of gun. Apparently they have a choice in what kind of weapon they use to murder proles with, depending on their date of hire. Scroll down to section III through V.

      1. Whatever Van Dyke’s choice of murder weapon, it’s probably safe to assume he emptied the magazine.

        1. Probably too expensive for HK, and Walther’s never taken off here like you’d think. I’ve liked both the P99AS and PPQ, but maybe their service isn’t like Glock’s?

          I just think it’s beyond bizarre that they allow three different calibers. I’ve never heard of a department allowing more than say two, O.K., three when guys were using .357s still, training with .38 +p or using it in a BUG, and transitioning to 9mm or .40. I hadn’t heard of a department before that allowed 9/40/or .45. What, no ,357 Sig or 10mm too?

          Nobody’s heard of economy of scale?

          1. It’s Chicago, Economy means increases in taxation and fees

    3. Chicago doesn’t have one standard, they have an approved list depending on when you get hired


      1. Ha! Too slow!

        (Usually I’m the one posting something after someone else has already beaten me to the punch)

        1. I would have been first if I hadn’t spent time reading the rules in the first two sections, and pondering why the old timers get more choices.

          1. Excuses, excuses. /jk

            I’m guessing the geezers get more choices because they’re old and set in their ways.

          2. I would have been first if I hadn’t spent time reading the rules in the first two sections, and pondering why the old timers get more choices.

            Allowing any untrained rube to just walk in off the street and use the piece he happened to have on his hip that day would lead to lawlessness. Duh!

  3. OT:


    A state lawmaker wants to stop a graduate student at the University of Missouri from continuing research for her dissertation on the impact of a 72-hour waiting period on women considering abortions.

    Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) claimed in a letter to the university chancellor dated Oct. 30 that the university is breaking the law by allowing the student to carry out her research. The grad student is studying a recently imposed law requiring women in Missouri to wait 72 hours between the time they seek information about an abortion and the point at which they have the procedure.

    1. Let freedom RING!!!

        1. Forget it, Saccharin Man – it’s Eddie Town

    2. Did Senator Dickhead mention what specific statute was being violated?

      1. Missouri law prohibits state employees from using tax dollars to encourage a woman to have an abortion that is “not necessary to save her life.”

        Missouri graduate students will be interested to find out that they are state employees.

        1. Is it a state university?

          Grad students (at least where I went) were both students and employees wherein they had some instructional duties with regards to undergrads (and they did get some recompense for it)

          1. It is, but it depends on their rules. Some people that work for state university are specifically exempt from being considered state employees.

            And even then, a dissertation on the impact of 72 hours waiting periods is hardly “encouraging abortions.”

            1. And even then, a dissertation on the impact of 72 hours waiting periods is hardly “encouraging abortions.”

              What are you talking about? That dissertation probably contains criticism of the policy, and any criticism of the policy equals encouraging women to have daily abortions. Duh.

              1. Kulaks and wreckers.

        2. If doing the study is “encouraging abortions,” isn’t he in effect admitting that the results are going to undermine the premise of his law?

          1. He doesn’t care about that. He knows his law was never anything but a way to make abortions more difficult to obtain.

    3. Missouri state Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia) claimed in a letter to the university chancellor dated Oct. 30 that the university is breaking the law[…]

      The guy is crackers.

    4. Authoritarian dullard

  4. Maybe they will finally learn not to pants-shit their entire magazine.

    1. I hear Sandi took a shit on their magazine, once.

      /subbing for Sandi

  5. Should be a real nice day of shopping when the rioters hit michigan ave on friday…

    1. Kumite! Kumite! Kumite! Kumite!

    2. No looters on Amazon.

      step up your game, Brick’n’Mortar.

  6. If someone will give me 1000-1 odds, I will bet on a conviction.

    1. The Vegas odds on a conviction stand at an unprecedented 1,000-to-zero. A bet of zero dollars on a conviction pays $1,000 if it happens. Still, very few takers.

      1. well, will the eventual settlement cost around $1k per capita? in effect, the taxpayers take that bet by living there.

        1. They already settled for $5 million. Before a lawsuit was even filed. That’s how bad the video must be.

    2. you’re giving away free money. they are gonna charge him with murder 1 specifically for acquittal. i want this pig in prison and even i can’t make the case for murder 1. it’s all kabuki theatre here.

  7. But it also has a problematic present

    Finally, using the word “problematic” in a context I can agree with.

    1. You know he did that on purpose.

  8. Is that the order of the shots? Like, did he shoot the kid in the head and then shoot him 15 more times?

    1. He wasn’t a zombie, SugarFree. Shooting him in the head may not have been enough to stop him.

      1. Probably all hopped up on jenkum and shatter and bath salts and ISIS super-killer drugs.

        1. Even if he wasn’t, your standard black teenager is more like an enraged super-ape than a man. Emptying your magazine and your colon is the only chance you have to survive an encounter with one.

          1. and ISIS super-killer drugs

            you mean caffeine + adderall?


            /STEVE SMITH

      2. He wasn’t a zombie


        *adjusts tin-foil hat*

        1. #blackzombie”lives”matter

    2. If you read the autopsy report, they state that the numbering is just arbitrary, since they have no real way of knowing the order.

  9. Interestingly, even before this video has been released and the officer charged, Mayor Rahm Emanuel had offered the McDonald family a $5 million settlement, all while fighting the release of the footage.

    Now you can understand why police organizations don’t like cameras.

  10. “An autopsy later revealed that McDonald had been shot 16 times, in different places all over his body.”

    No way a cop did it…

    1. if he reloaded twice, then he missed a ton.

      a 9mm handgun has from 15-18 rounds in the mag and one in the chamber.

      even a .40 is 13+1 to 15+1.

      1. Is it standard procedure for a police officer to carry a fully loaded handgun with a round in the chamber? If so, I’m surprised there aren’t more negligent discharges.

        1. It’s not called “Glock-leg” for nothing, Meriwether. Yes, it’s standard procedure to carry a pistol with a loaded magazine inserted, a cartridge chambered, and one of: hammer down, hammer cocked with safety on, or striker pre-tensioned—depending on the pistol used. You can carry with the chamber empty, but should you need the pistol right then, you’re probably like to have back the time you’re going to use up chambering a round.

          The video may contradict this, but McDonald may have 16 wounds, but I’m betting he wasn’t hit with 16 bullets. I.e., one bullet may cause several wounds, depending on the orientation of limbs and other body positions. People tend to put their arms in front of them when they’re fighting and getting shot at.

          1. They should just issue them sig p220s. 8+1 .45 acp means same great unarmed prole death, and half the pants-shitting appearance.

            1. No, as a precondition of being a cop, one should be barred from owning any weapons, and be required to rely on negotiating and actual inductive reasoning.

              1. “actual inductive reasoning.”

                Me thinks the current crop would be under armed in that respect.

            2. Nah, the weapon isn’t the problem. Although you’re going to see shootings where the non-cop is going to be filled with multiple holes simply because handguns aren’t very good at stopping people right then and there.

              The problems are: their immunity from the types of grossly negligent actions that would send you or me off to jail; their training which emphasizes their self-preservation above all other considerations; and the revolving door justice system that lets out violent offenders again and again. Oh, and the War on Some Drugs.

              Yank, or at least reduce, their qualified immunity; emphasize in training that one of the reasons police work is (was?) thought to be noble is that they are putting themselves in danger to ensure the safety and peace of the populace; lock violent shitbags up and keep them there; and get rid of the WOD and a lot of the problems with police violence and brutality will go away.

              The gun isn’t the problem; an attitude that is actively hostile to deescalation is. That said, I’d like to see the video, and I am suspicious that the shooting isn’t as open and shut against the officer as Reason + BLM would like us to think.

          2. OK. If you carry that way, please be careful.

  11. “Mayor Rahm Emanuel had offered the McDonald family a $5 million settlement, all while fighting the release of the footage.”

    I had no idea that was the mayor’s job.

    1. Read your town charter. It is absolutely the Chicago Mayor’s job to ride the police union’s dick like a rodeo cowboy. You don’t want to find yourself on the bad side of that particular occupational army.

      1. Well, at least not until this week, when he’s worried about finding himself on a bad side of a riot.

        1. Riots fade, and it’s not like the rabble are the ones who keep the Mayor in power. Rahm has to deal with the cops and Chicago machine every day.

      2. “ride the police union’s dick like a rodeo cowboy”

        I gave the dry, despairing laugh that used to be heard only in Warsaw Pact countries.

      3. “Reverse reverse cowgirl”

        So awesome that I only just found about about it yesterday, but I bet the cool kids have been doing it since mid-summer.

        1. Is that where she does a headstand?

  12. Did anyone ask this officer what he thinks about Syrian refugees?


    1. In Chicago they take all they can get their hands on. Well as much as the mob approves of in mob cases.

  13. leaving aside the horror of this attack, can we speak for a moment about the marksmanship of the chicago pd?

    this is freaking awful.

    16 rounds at 12-15 feet, and not one anywhere near center body mass. i guess #4 is sort of close, but this is mr magoo style shooting.

    1. You try and shoot straight with Teen Negro Hulk trying to kill your friends!

  14. From the “update” link, is this the worst hed/subhed combo ever in the history of the world? (no, but still)

    Chicago Nails First Cop for Murder in History for Shooting Black Teen
    Jason Van Dyke becomes the first officer charged with first-degree murder on duty after he pumped 16 shots into Laquan McDonald last year.

    “Nails” for “Charges”? Is he the first to be charged for killing a black teen? Is he the first to be charged while on duty? Or is he the first to be charged for an on-duty killing? These are ambiguous at best but frankly outright misleading.

    1. Is he the first to be charged for killing a black teen?

      Don’t know.

      Is he the first to be charged while on duty?


      Or is he the first to be charged for an on-duty killing?

      Again, no.

      From the link within a link:

      The case would mark the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years.

      1. I know the answers to those questions, but thanks.

        1. I know the answers to those questions, but thanks.

          You’re welcome.

  15. McDonald at a BK.


    1. “We spoke to witness Wendy…”

  16. I hate to be the skunk at the five-minute-hate party, but I notice that the Daily Beast article suggests the cop was “indict[ed].”

    I don’t think this is the case.

    It looks like the prosecutor filed a Complaint for Preliminary Examination, which triggers a hearing before a judge, without a grand jury. According to this summary, indictment and preliminary hearing are alternative procedures – if one doesn’t work, the prosecutor can attempt the other.

    But so far it doesn’t look like the grand jury has issued any indictment, and I see no indication that it will be asked to do so. Again, a grand jury is unnecessary under the procedure the prosecutor is using.

    1. According to pp. 52-53 of this legal commenary, “[b]ecause there is no federal right to a grand jury indictment binding on the states, Illinois is free to use preliminary hearings as a more efficient alternative to empaneling a grand jury. As a practical matter, most State’s attorneys simply prefer to use the preliminary hearing option. Judges are aware that if they refuse to find probably cause, the State’s attorney will simply impanel a grand jury, which will almost certainly find probable cause.”

      Although I’m confused why prosecutors bypass the grand jury if the grand jury is such a wonderful pro-prosecution tool.

      1. Never mind the link, the source is The Illinois State Constitution: A Reference Guide, by Ann Lousin (Praeger, 2010).

        1. PS – what do people think about the states being able to ignore the grand jury clause of the Fifth Amendment:

          “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger;”

    2. Notorious,

      Whatever charging instrument he’s held on, it’s enough to hold him w/o bail until the following Monday. Which is ridiculous, as the reason for doing so is that the judge needs until next Monday to review video footage of the incident. The same video that’s getting broadcast to you and me tomorrow.

      In the, other trivia column, the officer evidently used a S&W pistol. Assuming it’s the M&P fullsize, that means 17+1 capacity. FWIW, he was trying to reload when another officer told him to knock it off. Per the linked Trib article, the video shows the officer hitting McDonald with the first couple of shots, and knocking him down. He then shot the remainder of his shots while McDonald was in a fetal position. No mention was made of whether the kid was holding the knife or not. Also no mention of whether McDonald was trying to get up. I guess we’ll soon see.

      And also, other CPD officers went across the street from the shooting to a MickeyDs to review whether the store’s cameras picked up the shooting. Said cameras had an 86 minute gap in the video after their review.

      I’m beginning to lean towards guilty of something for the officer, if not quite Murder 1.

  17. Re the antics of Mr. Mayor, Devil Take The Bum. As for the police officer, I suspect that the devil would reject this individual as being beyond the pale. Of course, that is simply my surmise.

  18. Oh by the way, re the shooting distances mentioned between 4 and 5 yards, is this “trained police officer” that poor a shot? If so, how in hell did he qualify?Did he have a friend with a 9mm pencil? I assume that to be the caliber of police service pistols in Chicago.

  19. Nothing quite like Chicago is something I once heard. To that sentiment, I say, Thank Goodness.

  20. I just got paid $6784 working off my laptop this month. And if you think that’s cool, my divorced friend has twin toddlers and made over $9k her first month. It feels so good making so much money when other people have to work for so much less. This is what I do,


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