Chicago to release video in police shooting of second black man

Reuters News
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Posted: Dec 03, 2015 4:25 PM

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A video of a 2014 Chicago police shooting of a black man will be released next week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday after days of controversy over another fatal police shooting caught on tape.

Emanuel said the city would release police squad car dashboard video of the shooting of 25-year-old Ronald Johnson III, who was killed by police on Oct. 12, 2014, a week before the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, 17.

Details of when the video would be released were not available from the mayor's office.

High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officials in U.S. cities have fueled demonstrations for some two years, stoking a national debate on race relations and police tactics.

Last week, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the death of McDonald, who was shot 16 times. Shortly after that, the city released a patrol car video of the shooting.

Protests erupted afterwards in the nation's third largest city, culminating in the firing of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy by Emanuel on Tuesday. Critics of the mayor and the local prosecutor have complained that it took too long for the McDonald tape to be released and for charges to be filed.

Earlier this week, Michael Oppenheimer, an attorney for the Johnson family, criticized city officials for refusing to release the video of Johnson's shooting. City officials have said they have not released the video because it is part of an open investigation.

Johnson was running from police when Officer George Hernandez arrived and seconds later shot him in the back, Oppenheimer said. Police said Johnson had a gun and turned toward officers before being shot, while Oppenheimer said Johnson was unarmed.

Also on Thursday, Emanuel said he would welcome a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights investigation of systemic issues at the Chicago Police Department, which was requested by the Illinois attorney general.

This was a change from remarks the mayor had made on Wednesday, when he said there was no need for an additional probe by federal authorities before they completed their investigation of McDonald's death, according to local media reports.

(Reporting by Mary Wisniewski; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)