Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke and his fellow officers painted a different narrative of the evening Laquan McDonald was fatally shot, according to the official police report, released Friday evening.
NBC Chicago reports Dyke and multiple police officers that were near or on the scene of the incident completed the Case Supplemental report, filed months after McDonald’s October 2014 death. The statements claim Van Dyke was in danger because the 17-year-old attempted to attack the officer with a three-inch blade knife he had in his possession.
Joseph McElligott was one of the first officers to respond to calls McDonald was breaking into vehicles in the area. At the time of his death, the teen reportedly had PCP in his system. McElligott says when he first approached the teen, his hands were in his pockets. Once McDonald took his hands out of his pockets, McElligott noticed the knife.
The dashcam video of the shooting, however, shows a different side of the story. The video, released to the public last week, shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times just seconds after getting out his squad car.
In the report, Officer Ricardo Viramontes says Van Dyke continued to shoot at the teen while he was on the ground because he kept moving. Van Dyke added laws regulated by the police force would identify McDonald as a threat because he was in possession of a weapon within 21 feet of an officer.
The video, however, shows McDonald’s lifeless body as he’s being shot multiple times. There is no movement.
After the round of bullets were fired, Van Dyke approached McDonald to knock the knife out of his hand.
USA Today reports Officer Joseph Walsh, Van Dyke’s partner, said the teen “swung the knife toward the officers in an aggressive manner” as McDonald got closer to the officers.
USA Today reports:
In a subsequent interview, Van Dyke told investigators that he was aware at the time he fired at McDonald that the teen had punctured the tire of a police vehicle moments before.
He also relayed concerns about a police safety bulletin that were issued to CPD officers nearly two years earlier warning of a weapon “which appeared to be a knife but which actually was capable of firing a bullet, making it a firearm.”
Former police superintendent Garry McCarthy admitted to the public that the police report was misleading — the same day he was fired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He also claimed he didn’t see the dashcam video until the day the press release was issued.
Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. Critics are calling for the resignations of Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, alleging the officials took part in covering up the year-old case.
You can read the rest of the 395-page police report here.