CPD to Release Shooting Videos Sooner

The city of Chicago said it will start releasing footage of police shootings more quickly, as activists critical of how authorities handled the videotaped fatal shooting of Black teenager Laquan McDonald sought to have a special prosecutor take over the case.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has heard repeated calls to step down, said he supported the new video policy recommended by the task force he created after the McDonald footage was released. His spokesman, Adam Collins, said the recommendations would be implemented immediately.

The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates officer-involved shootings, plans to release videos and other evidence in all new cases as well as current investigations. The videos and other evidence would be released within 60 days, but law enforcement agencies can seek to delay that by another 30 days.

“Restoring trust between our police and the communities they’re sworn to serve is an essential part of our City’s public safety efforts,” Emanuel said.

Trust was a clear factor in the petition for a special prosecutor. The civil rights attorneys and others say they want an outside prosecutor for the McDonald case and any further investigation into the shooting because of what they see as Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s close ties to the officers union. They say they don’t trust her to aggressively investigate and prosecute Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder.

Alvarez’s “track record has undermined her credibility, created a crisis of confidence in her and her office, and created the appearance that this state’s attorney cannot be trusted to zealously and effectively prosecute Officer Van Dyke,” the petition reads.

Illinois law dictates that in an ongoing criminal case it’s the presiding judge who decides whether a special prosecutor is needed because of potential bias by a state attorney’s office.

How both the petition and the new policy will be received by the rank and file officers remained unclear Tuesday. Chicago police union president Dean Angelo Sr. was not immediately available for comment.