CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - County prosecutors are expected to charge a white Chicago police officer with murder in the fatal shooting a black teenager, an official close to the investigation said Monday night.
Sources have also told FOX 32 News that the video of the officer shooting the teenager 16 times last year was supposed to be made public on Tuesday. However, with a major announcement expected from Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on Tuesday regarding criminal charges in the case, which caught the police department off guard, the release of the video has been pushed back to Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
Last week, a judge ordered the city to make the dashcam video public by Wednesday and city officials are worried about how people will react to the video. The Mayor spent Monday meeting with ministers and community activists.
The video has been described as graphic and disturbing, and even brought some investigators to the point of tears after seeing it.
McDonald was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke in a case that has taken more than a year to investigate.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the video hideous, even though he claims he has not seen it.
“This officer didn't uphold the law, he took the law into his own hands. Didn't build the trust that we would want to see, and wasn't about providing safety and security so at every point he violated what we entrusted him,” Emanuel said.
With State's Attorney Anita Alvarez expected to announce murder charges against the officer on Tuesday, it could blunt some of the public outrage after the video is shown.
A source also says Alvarez will not attempt the keep the video from being released, even though it will generate a tremendous amount of pre-trial publicity.
“Realistically, the trial is going to be so far removed from when the video's first released that it's not going to have any impact on the trial. We have front page cases all of the time where the trial doesn't occur for three, four, five years later and the jury is then questioned about whether it would then affect them, so I don't think that's a consideration,” said Professor Richard Kling of Chicago Kent College of Law.
The shooting occurred on Oct. 20, 2014, as police responded to a 911 call of a man carrying a knife. Lawyers for McDonald's family who have seen the video say it shows the teen with a small knife and walking away from officers. They say Officer Van Dyke opens fire from about 15 feet and keeps shooting after the teen falls.
Van Dyke is expected to appear in court on Tuesday at noon.