The city of Chicago today released hundreds of videos of police shootings and arrests, some in cases where critics contend police used excessive force. The city is struggling to regain public support for its police force after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014. Since then, other shootings in Chicago, many involving young black men, have fueled ongoing public outrage in the city.
In the McDonald case, the Chicago Police Department didn’t release a video of that shooting until a court ordered it more than a year after McDonald’s death. When the video finally was released, it appeared to conflict with police accounts of the shooting. It showed the teenager backing away from officers when he was shot. In the latest development in that case, a Cook County judge agreed Thursday to appoint a special prosecutor to try the police officer who shot and killed McDonald.
By releasing the trove of video footage and other records Friday, officials are attempting to restore trust in the police force. “These past few months, as this city has struggled with so many questions about policing and about police accountability, it has been clear that we all agree that there’s a lack of trust and that increased transparency is essential to rebuilding that trust,” Sharon Fairley, the chief of the Independent Police Review Authority, or IPRA, said at a news conference.
In one of the videos just released, an officer shoots a man after he charges toward the officer in an aggressive manner. In another case, police are shown slamming a handcuffed woman onto the hood of a car.
Chicago authorities say in the future they will release video of shootings and other violent incidents involving police within 60 days of the incident. The recordings include videos from police body cameras, patrol car dashboard cameras, as well as audio from 911 calls.