October 20, 2014, police were responding to a 911 call saying that there was a man breaking into cars on the southwest side of Chicago. When officers pulled in to the scene, LaQuan McDonald was walking down Pulaski road, away from the police. After being outside of his car for approximately 6 seconds, officer Van Dyke opened fire, shooting McDonald 16 times.
Van Dyke claims that after asking to drop his knife, McDonald lunged toward him and that he was “truly in fear for his life, as well as the lives of his fellow officers”. The video shows no evidence of McDonald lunging toward anyone with a weapon, in fact, it shows him walking in the opposite direction right before he was shot.
Police officers are trained to de-escalate any situation especially when their life could potentially be in danger. It is common knowledge that if you enlist to be apart of a police force, you’re putting your life at risk almost 100% of the time. Also, It it unreasonable to think that it is justifiable to open fire at the slightest bit of threat, especially one from someone carrying a knife that is several feet away. If McDonald lunged and everyone was in fear for their life, how come they didn’t shoot him as well?
When asked that very question, Van Dyke’s lawyer explained that he agreed with what the public saw initially. After watching the video repeatedly, it was clear to him — and only him apparently, that McDonald was a threat and did lunge towards the officers. He concludes the interview by saying, “what appears to be clear on video, is sometimes not that clear.”
Reverend Marvin Hunter, LaQuan McDonald’s great-uncle, told reporters “This is a victory for America. America was on trial here and people all over America and all across the world have been waiting to see what was going to happen.” While justice may have been served for McDonald and his family, to me, this looks like another case of false generosity.