Amid a federal and state probe into the violent death of a Black Chicago teen who was shot 16 times by an officer last fall, city leaders on Wednesday agreed to pay his family $5 million, reports The New York Times.
The decision comes after 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who police say was wielding a three-inch knife, was shot 16 times by an officer on Oct. 20 on the city’s Southwest Side. The unnamed officer said he was in fear for his life, but the FBI and state prosecutors are investigating his claim.
Officials say a dashboard camera on a police squad car captured the confrontation, but officials said Thursday they do not anticipate releasing the footage anytime soon, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Indeed, video footage of some police shootings, such as that of Walter Scott in North Charleston, South Carolina and Eric Courtney Harris in Tulsa, have led to nonviolent protests against police brutality in Black communities.
Leaders in Chicago, which has a long history of police brutality against Blacks, are trying to avoid an acrimonious debate by signing the settlement agreement.
From the Chicago Tribune:
On the advice of Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton, the City Council voted 47-0 Wednesday to pre-empt a federal lawsuit by paying McDonald’s family $5 million.
The officer who fired the shots — 16 of them, it turns out — has said he feared for his life. A Fraternal Order of Police spokesman said the officer opened fire after McDonald lunged at him with the knife.
An autopsy confirmed that McDonald was shot in the chest, as the FOP spokesman said. But it also showed he was shot in the scalp, neck, elbow, leg, arms, hand and back.
Lawyers for McDonald’s family say he was walking away from police when he was shot and they were prepared to ask for $16 million, the Tribune notes.
The officer hasn’t been charged with a crime.