One of the many killings that got national attention during the “Black Lives Matter” era in America was that of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at the hands of Chicago Police Department officers. The officers followed McDonald through a Burger King parking lot at 40th and Pulaski after getting a tip about a man walking through the neighborhood with a knife. Officers shot McDonald a total of 16 times, nine of which were in the back, according to autopsy reports. However, as the FBI, the U.S. Attorney and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office investigate the matter, McDonald’s lawyers are claiming that police tampered with surveillance video from the Burger King.
The actual shooting of Laquan McDonald was captured on a police vehicle dash cam, but has not been released to the public. Everyone involved agrees that the Burger King footage would not show the actual shooting, as it stands about 100 yards away from the scene, but McDonald’s attorney is (or was) interested in seeing the Burger King footage to shed light on the events leading up to the slaughter. However, 86 minutes of video from the Burger King has been erased. The video missing covers from 9:13 PM to 10:39 PM on that fateful night of October 20th. McDonald was killed at 9:50 PM.
Jay Darshane, Burger King’s district manager, says that four or five police officers came in asking to view the video after Laquan McDonald was killed. He obliged and gave them the password. Officers spent three hours reviewing the tape before leaving. The next day, an investigator from the Independent Police Review Authority asked to view the tape and the missing video was noticed.
The IPRA claims to have no evidence that the policemen manipulated the video, but Darshane, who says all the equipment was working properly that night, feels differently. He said, “We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files. I mean we were just trying to help the police officers.”
Time will tell what will come of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Police claim no wrongdoing, but McDonald’s attorney says he has a witness that described the shooting as an “execution.” Would the tape of police following Laquan McDonald have proven that? We may never know.