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Black Aldermen Question Dash-cam Video as City Braces for Protests

Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus reacted Wednesday to the release of a video showing the shooting of a black teen by a white police officer.

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Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) chairman of the City Council Black Council answers questions from reporters Wednesday following a City Hall press conference.

A dash-cam video was released Tuesday showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as he walked down the street, away from the officers.

McDonald was shot 16 times in 15 seconds.

The shooting occurred October 2014.

In the immediate aftermath, officers on the scene and police union officials said McDonald, who had a 3-inch knife on his person, said McDonald lunged with his knife; however the video shows McDonald moving away from Van Dyke before he was shot.

“My sources within the police department are telling me [Van Dyke’s] partner was telling him to cease-fire, and he still continued to shoot the boy like a dog,” said Ald. Leslie A. Hairston (5th), following a press conference held by the City Council’s Black Caucus.

“This is the representation of young people all over the city of Chicago,” said Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th), chairman of the Black Caucus.

“If they walk down the street, they run the risk of being killed by the law enforcement officers, the ones who’ve been sworn in to serve and protect them.”

Mark Carter, activist and member of One Chicago, a coalition of advocates, said he has been in contact with McDonald’s family. He said McDonald’s mother is scared and is only speaking through her attorney.

“We don’t have the same fear as a common citizen,” Carter said, adding that he and other activists would not be afraid to question the police and other authorities.

After the video was released Tuesday, protests spanned the city, and residents spoke against excessive police force.

Deidric Baynes, 32, said city officials and police are not trying to find a solution to end the violence, but he is unsure what would help.

“[Protests] have been done before, and [they] haven’t changed anything,” Baynes said.

Yeny Aguilar, 35, said protests show people’s feelings of hurt, hopelessness and desire to get answers.

“Every single race has to come together as one and show the love and protest as one,” Aguilar said, while working a booth for Courtside Ministries outside the Richard J. Daley Center.

Investor Robert Stoll, 41, said the police and community need to have a partnership, and it is hard to have one when one side is attacking the other.

“There seems to be this tension right now between the police and the community,” Stoll said. “[Protests] create this anti-police environment.”

However, he said he understands the reasons behind the protests.

“Shooting someone 16 times seems excessive,” Stoll said.

Protests will be ongoing throughout the weekend, several activists said.

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