Audio recordings offer some insight into Chicago police shooting

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:

911 CALL

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."

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OFFICERS ARRIVE

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."

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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?"

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THE SHOOTING

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."
 

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