Bi-partisan call for calm after release of video showing cop shoot teen 16 times

CHICAGO — Politicians from both parties are hoping for calm after a video showing a Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times is released.

The white police officer, Jason Van Dyke, has now been charged with first-degree murder for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Police have maintained McDonald was behaving erratically and was refusing commands to drop a knife.

The city of Chicago lost a court battle over keeping the dash-cam video out of the public eye, arguing it shouldn’t be released while the criminal investigation against Van Dyke was ongoing. A Cook County judge ruled keeping it under wraps violates Illinois’ open records law, and the city has been ordered to release it by Wednesday. U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is among those worried the reaction will be violent.

“What we want to see is, of course, justice served, in the individual case, and in the larger context,” Durbin said. “That means making certain that as we respect the men and women of law enforcement, as we should, that we also hold them to high standards, which we should, and to make certain that there’s accountability.”

The video reportedly shows McDonald was walking away when Van Dyke began shooting. None of the five other officers on the scene fired a shot.

Gov. Bruce Rauner expects reaction to be strong, but hopes it remains peaceful. When asked if he was ready to call in extra state troopers or the Illinois National Guard, he wouldn’t give any details on his contingency plans.

“I’m not going to comment on specific actions. It wouldn’t be appropriate, but we are taking precautions and communicating and coordinating with all public service agencies across the state,” Rauner said.

Rauner said judging from his briefings from the Chicago mayor’s office, he expects the contents of the video will be “very troubling.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with pastors and activists from African-American communities on Monday to try to ensure protests after the video’s release remain peaceful.