CHICAGO (AP) — Recently released audio recordings shed new light on the events leading up to a white Chicago police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014.
The recordings include a 911 call and radio traffic between officers and dispatchers, as police approached 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The audio reveals that officers repeatedly asked for a Taser after spotting the teen while responding to a reported burglary and suggest that officers didn't seem alarmed, at least not at first, that McDonald had a knife.
Police dashcam video released last month shows Officer Jason Van Dyke repeatedly shooting McDonald, but the recording had no audio. Van Dyke is now charged with first-degree murder.
Here's a description of notable portions of the audio recordings, which were released by the city this week after media outlets filed Freedom of Information Act requests:
A man called 911 from a truck depot on the city's southwest side, telling a dispatcher that someone has been breaking into vehicles in the area that night. Speaking with an accent, the man tells the dispatcher: "I have a parking lot full of trucks and I have a guy right here who stole the radios." The male dispatcher asks if the caller has detained the person, but the caller only says: "Yea, he's here." The dispatcher then asks for directions and says, "OK. We'll send the police."
Two officers responding to the 911 call radio to dispatch that they have McDonald in sight and are following him. One officer inquires about a stun-gun, which gives officers the option of using non-lethal force. The officer asks the female dispatcher, "Can someone get us a Taser? ... This guy is walking away but he's got a knife in hand." The dispatcher immediately relays the request over the radio, asking calmly: "Anyone have a Taser? ... Looking for a Taser, armed offender."
SENSE OF URGENCY
Dispatchers and officers sound mostly calm and businesslike, though a slight uptick in urgency occurs when an officer indicates that McDonald has poked or slashed a patrol car's tire. "Popped our tire on our car," the officer states. "Popped?" the dispatcher responds, sounding surprised. She again asks if any other officers have a Taser, adding: "Anybody close?"
Shortly after the officer reported the tire incident, the dispatcher states calmly: "Let me know when he's in custody, guys." But seconds later, around 10 p.m., an officer shouts over the radio: "Shots fired by the police! Get an ambulance over here!" No shots can be heard in the audio. The dispatcher immediately asks about officers: "You guys OK?" An officer answers, "10-4, everything is fine," and asks for an ambulance. The dispatcher answers: "We got the ambulance rolling."