The Laquan McDonald shooting video was released on Tuesday, and Chicago police are now on high alert for riots in the wake of its release.
McDonald was killed last year during an encounter with police in Chicago in October of 2014. At the time, officers claimed that McDonald was seen standing next to a car with a knife and refused officers’ requests to drop it, the Chicago Tribune reported. They claimed the teen lunged at officers, prompting them to open fire.
But video of McDonald’s death told a very different story. Police dashcam footage showed McDonald appearing to walk away from officers when they opened fire and then continued shooting McDonald several more times after he had fallen to the pavement. Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing.
Video of Laquan McDonald’s fatal shooting can be found here, but be warned that it contains graphic images.
Now, in preparation for possible riots in the wake of the Laquan McDonald video being released, the Chicago Police Department is ordering all officers into uniform and canceling days off. Officers have been told they could be working long hours as the city braces for demonstrations and potential riots.
“We are prepared for demonstrations, let’s put it that way,” Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the Chicago Tribune. “My mantra is going to be the same one that it always is, which is really simple. We’re going to facilitate and protect people’s First Amendment right to free speech and we’re going to be intolerant of criminal behavior.
“We do know that there are other people from other parts of the country who may want to cause problems, and we expect that,” he added. “It’s going to happen on any national stage, and Chicago certainly is a national stage. We’re prepared for it. We’ve trained for it.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is also calling for peace, saying this “is a moment that can build bridges of understanding rather than become a barrier of misunderstanding.”
Many believe charges against Van Dyke were leveled in an attempt to quell potential riots in Chicago. Though more than a year has passed since the fatal shooting, Van Dyke was charged only on Monday, two days before a judge ordered the video of the teen’s death to be released.
Crowds have already begun to gather in the city, calling for justice for McDonald. Many people shared video of the demonstrations that took place, with people marching through the streets and chanting.
— timmy (@TimmyNoToes) November 25, 2015
While there appear to be a number of people taking to the streets to demonstrate, as of early Wednesday morning there do not appear to be any riots in Chicago.
Many have gone online pleading with Chicago residents not to resort to riots and to let the justice system play out, while others have condemned Laquan McDonald and claimed the shooting was justified.
— BrittaJ17 (@brittaj17) November 25, 2015
There also appears to be quite a bit of misinformation feeding into the tension. There have been some reports that the KKK is headed to Chicago to take on the protesters. Some have even circulated a picture of a black man confronting KKK members during what appears to be a demonstration, with the implication that the picture is from Chicago. But the image appears to be several months old.
— Dr. White (@DoctorWhite78) November 25, 2015
The situation is even more complicated after violence broke out near demonstrations in Minneapolis on Monday. Five protesters were shot at a Black Lives Matter demonstration in what was described as a racially motivated attack.
Minneapolis police arrested three white men and said they could be treating it as a hate crime.
Though the demonstrations continue, there are still no official reports of riots in Chicago in the wake of the release of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.
[Image via Twitter]