We’ve known how McDonald died for a year now, but the only way we’ve been able to really see how was to look at the document prepared by the Cook County medical examiner. Bullet entrance wounds are marked with an O, exits with an X, a grisly game of Tic-Tac-Toe on Laquan’s body. One more bullet, and Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke would have hit the 17-year-old one time for every year he was alive.
What Van Dyke did to McDonald last October would have been excessive had
the boy had a machine gun in his hands. He had a four-inch folding
knife. Now, we are finally going to see video of him doing it, footage
that one Chicago Tribune reporter fears “could
rip the city apart.”
Months after Chicago approved a $5 million settlement for McDonald’s family, a judge ruled Thursday that the video must be released. Both the family and the city fought to suppress the video from public view, but Mayor Rahm Emanuel is fighting no more. After taking steps initially to appeal or delay the ruling, the city gave up. The video will be public before Thanksgiving.
We’ve watched cops kill plenty of black people on film recently. We may think it has desensitized us; I know I did. But we’re about to watch a black teenage boy with a small knife being shot 16 times by a cop, many times while he’s already down. Somehow, I don’t think any of us are ready for that.