The Worst Part About That Chicago Cop Video

It's just how 'mundane' it is, writes journalist whose lawsuit made it public
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 25, 2015 12:45 PM CST
The Worst Part About That Chicago Cop Video
Laquan McDonald, right, is seen moments before he is fatally shot.   (Chicago Police Department via AP)

A freelance journalist whose lawsuit forced Chicago cops to release the video of Laquan McDonald being shot to death thinks the video is most shocking because of how not-shocking it seems for the officers on scene. The shooting "horrifies in its banality," writes Brandon Smith in the Guardian. Note that in the silent video, not a single officer attempts to help the teen after he's been shot again and again. "The lack of sound, and the cold way the officers moved and behaved, made a horrifying act seem almost mundane," writes Smith. Perhaps that's because Chicago police have logged nearly 400 shootings over the last five years—only one of which has been found to be "not justified."

Given that track record, either police "sparkle with unicorn magic," or something awful is going on here, writes Smith. It's the latter, unfortunately, and the problem is systemic, no matter how hard Mayor Rahm Emanuel tries to portray this particular shooting as an aberration. "The video seems so everyday, so scarily commonplace," writes Smith. And after so many other similar cases, he wants this one to make a difference. "Laquan’s death has the potential to have meaning—particularly for other people of color, who should not have to be afraid of our police. As the statistics stand, they have reason to be." Click for Smith's full column. (The officer who shot Laquan has a long track record of complaints.)

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