CHICAGO — In the next three days, the city will decide how it will release the video showing a police officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.
"The city is planning when and how to release the video over the next 72 hours," Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday afternoon, but he did not clarify when the video itself would be released.
On Thursday, a judge ruled that the city has until next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, to release a dashcam video showing a Chicago Police officer fatally shoot the 17-year-old 16 times. Attorneys for the McDonald family have called the video "graphic," "violent" and the shooting "unnecessary" and dispute that the video shows McDonald "menacing" a police officer.
The city has already paid a $5 million settlement to the family for the shooting, though the internal police investigation is not yet over and no criminal charges have yet been filed.
Following the judge's decision, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the city would abide by the ruling and not appeal.
Those who have seen the video have said its release could go viral and incite major protests. One columnist went so far to say it would "tear Chicago apart." Anti-gun-violence activists are already speaking out, urging others to protest peacefully and not resort to violence.
Guglielmi said that the police department is considering plans for how to deal with public reaction once the video is released.
"We have these plans in place for all sorts of things," Guglielmi said. In a statement, he added, "As you have seen over the past few years, CPD works tirelessly to protect people’s First Amendment rights and residents of Chicago have exercised those rights in a peaceful way."
The Sun-Times reported Friday that plainclothes officers who were asked to wear their uniforms following the Paris terrorist attacks to "ease people's minds" will continue to wear uniforms through next week for the video release.
Rev. Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina's, a prominent anti-violence activist on the South Side, said the city reached out to him to learn about his plans surrounding the video release. They are concerned about potential violence and hope Pfleger will be a voice for peace, he told DNAinfo Chicago.
“Of course I’m gonna be that,” Pfleger said. “I never, ever, ever believe in violence being the response. I’m a follower of Dr. King. I believe in the power of non-violence. Civil disobedience, yes. But non-violence.
“Everybody I’ve talked to [since yesterday has said], ‘We should not have any violence.’ If we respond with violence, then we are no better than the perpetrators we’re angry with. There should be no violence.”
Pfleger said he is sharing a message of peace on platforms like Facebook and will preach about non-violence on Sunday.
Community activist Andrew Holmes said he and other leaders also hope to spread a message of peace and keep riots from breaking out. Chicago should be an “example city,” Holmes said.
“First and foremost, I’m personally gonna be praying,” Holmes said. “Absolutely [I'll be] out here, asking for peace and asking that [Chicagoans] not riot, not tear up the city, let the process take its course. And I believe certain individuals will be held accountable, and I want the city and the residents to respect that and let the process take its course.”
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