tv The Last Word With Lawrence O Donnell MSNBC November 24, 2015 10:00pm-11:01pm PST
very, very conservative religious right voters. this is part of understanding why and this is one of the things he should explain to people who may have justifiable concerns about who he's building his campaign on now. that does it for us tonight. now it's time for "the last word" with lawrence o'donnell. >> we have a lot of breaking news from chicago we're going to get to right away. thanks, rachel. >> tonight, for the first time in 35 year, a chicago police officer is charged with first degree murder. the killing occurred 13 months ago on october 20, 2014. chicago police officer jason van dyke shot and killed 17-year-old laquan mcdonnell. the independent police review authority in chicago, a civilian agency that is charged with investigating all officer-involved shootings, they went to work immediately. they collected evidence, they interviewed witnesses and within less than two weeks of that incident, they concluded that it was a bad shooting and they
stripped officer van dyke of his police powers. the officer was then assigned to desk duty where he has remained for the last year until today. he was suspended without pay for dash ca many junior. there is no sound on this video of the murder of laquan mcdonald. there is no sound on this video. it is very graphic. you should be warned about that. if you choose to watch it, you will see mcdonald armed with a knife. and you will see him trying to get away from police officers who were then closing in on him. here is that video. this is laquan mcdonald in the middle of the road there. the officers will approach from his left.
you can see him hit there. 16 shots in total were fired. there was a pause, according to witnesses after the first shots and before the second shots were fired. that's an officer kicking the knife out of laquan mcdonald's hands there. and those blurs that occurred were nbc standards, blurring moments there where there appears to be puffs of smoke. some people have mistaken puffs of smoke coming from the body when it is hit by the bullets. that is actually debris in the area of the body. if there's smoke from a shooting it's at the area of the gun. >> it's my determination that
this defendant's actions of shooting laquan mcdonald when he did not pose an immediate threat of great body harm or death, and his subsequent actions of shooting laquan mcdonald while he lay on the ground after previously being struck by gunfire were not justified and they were not a proper use of deadly force by this police officer. >> we're joined now from chicago by jamie calvin who's reported extensively on patterns of abuse there. he was the person who got the autopsy report in this case and got that to be public also. joining us, mark claxton, also in new york, nbc's joy reid. tell us more about the history of this case and how the information has dribbled out over time, mostly through efforts of third parties forcing the release of this information.
tell us first about how you managed to get the autopsy in in case? >> well, i was able to get the autopsy with a freedom of information act request as of time it became available. but i think the really striking thing about what we have seen today is the city had everything that is known about the incident on october 20th of 2014 in which laquan mcdonald was shot and killed was known within hours by the city. they had the video, they had the autopsy as of the next morning. so the information that has been at the center of public attention today more than a year after the incident was in the possession of the city within hours, if not even less time. and yet the city put out a press release that gave what they had to know was a false account.
young man with a knife behaving erratically lunges at officers. officers in self-defense shoot in self-defense and he died later in the hospital. that can only be called an outright lie about what happened. so the city then has, for the better part of a year, for more than a year, maintained that narrative until recent events. >> and joy reid, that narrative would continue tonight were it not for video. video is the only thing that breaks this claim of self-defense that is always made in this case. the police union in this case lied about it, as police unions virtually always do in these cases at the time of the shootings. the "chicago tribune" reports that the police union maintained the officer fired in fear of his
life because the teen lunged at him. lunged at him. that was their description. lunged at him and his partner with that knife. that's a description you read in these cases all around the country. and then once in a while there was a videotape, and, of course, he was going away from them. there was no lunge at them whatsoever. the police union story, a complete lie. >> yeah, and you can go back and take any case you want. the case in the late 91990s in new york, there was no videotape but it was the same story. the walter scott case, the initial story told by the officer and backed up by the department was that walter scott made a move for the officer's taser and the officer shot him in self-defense. the videotape proved that not to be true. and then you have this case where to mr. calvin's point, the city, which knew the information was not true put out a story in the midst, by the way, of a very contentious re-election campaign
for the mayor of the city, rob emanuel. this took place in october of last year as rob emanuel is fighting after runoff election against jesus garcia in a campaign in the midst of a lot of discussion around the country about black lives matter. you have city officials -- and mr. calvin is can correct me if i'm wrong -- he was tipped off about the existence of this stay by someone who worked in the city. so there was a knowledge throughout government that this story wasn't true, and yet you had this wholesale effort to sort of confect a story that would justify the shooting. and only the forcing of this videotape out makes the prosecutor act. and it takes her a year to figure out that something was wrong. >> and i would add that that process of maintaining and enforcing this false narrative culminates in the unprecedented runoff campaign between mayor emanuel and chewy garcia, with a
settlement with the estate, with the family of laquan mcdonald for $5 million. the lawyers for the family had not even filed a lawsuit. what they had done is through the probate process managed to obtain a copy of the video. so that was their leverage to negotiate the settlement and it was, you know, it appears a political necessity in the midst of the mayoral campaign to be sure that video did not come out. imagine if two weeks before the election the full implications of what happened to laquan mcdonald had become public knowledge. that's potentially a game changer. >> the city council there proves these kinds of payout, this $5 million payout. is the mayor also involved in a approving that payout? >> the payout is negotiated by the city law office, by the
corporation council, the mayor's lawyer, the chief lawyer for the city. and then is brought to the city council. i think any settlement of over $100,000 goes to the city council and it's mostly a rubber stamp operation at that point. >> and was there any -- the mayor said tonight in this unprecedented press conference that they had before the video was released in which they were basically, the mayor and the police chief was just trying to bring calm to the city before this video is released, the mayor says he has not seen this video. he said he was going to see it tonight for the first time just like everyone else. >> the content of the video had been described almost frame by frame by people who have seen it. i have reported on it, others have. >> how long have those reports been out there, what's in the video? >> for many months. i couldn't place it exactly. so i had eyewitness -- in the
course of researching this story, i found two eyewitnesses at the site who gave very vivid and credible accounts that completely align with the video. and i, you know, reported on that. and then once the lawyers got the video, they described its contents. they were constrained by the settlement agreement of the city. but it's been widely known. this has been in plain sight for many months. >> let's listen to what the prosecutors said about how long it took to shoot laquan mcdonald. basically her description of what you see in this video. let's listen to this. >> our investigation has determined that officer van dyke was on the scene for less than 30 seconds before he started shooting. in addition to the fact that all evidence indicates that he began shooting froksly six seconds after getting out of his vehicle. an analysis of the video shows that 14 to 15 seconds passed
from the time the defendant fired his first shot to clear visual evidence of a final shot. for approximately 13 of those seconds, laquan was lying on the ground. of the eight or more officers on the scene, it was only the defendant who fired his weapon. >> mark claxton, this is an investigation that's an examination of one minute in time, a little built more of a minute in time that's actually relevant to the murder investigation. this same district attorney, this same prosecutor takes over a year to get to this point, and tonight, when she describes her case, she sites only the dash cam video and one eyewitness. that's how simple this case actually is to describe and yet she took a year to get us to tonight.
>> i want to get -- jamie, i want to get mark's reaction as a former police officer to the pace of this investigation and the complexity of it. >> it's become a much more common tactic to use the quote, unquote, investigation as more or less a stall tactic. or in some cases even a further rans of conspiracies to do certain things in regards to different case themselves. so a lot of times when you have individuals, the police officials, are investigative agencies talking about investigations. they want to give you the impression they're work on this thing 24 hours a day, seven days a week nonstop. and that's just the case. many times, as is the case obviously here, apparently up to this point, many times there's not that much evidence that needs to be analyzed to make a determination as to whether or not probable cause exists.
and i think any skilled professional dedicated and committed law enforcement professional or states attorney should make that determination in tharj part this evening. >>coming up, the mayor had meetings with community leaders. our next guest was in that meeting. and later, a last word about donald trump's lies from "the new york times." "the new york times" unlike most of the news media has finally decided to call donald trump's lies, lies. can a business have a mind?
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>> i understand that the people will be upset and will want to protest when they see this video. but i would like to echo the comments of the mcdonald family. they have asked for calm and for those who choose to speak out to do it peacefully. >> we're joined mao by pastor cory brooks, the pastor of the new beginnings church in chicago. he was one of the ministers and community leaders who met with chicago mayor rahm emanuel video.
tell us about that meeting yesterday with the mayor. yesterday, we met with the mayor and pastors and city leaders and we wanted to make sure he talked to us about the city remaining calm. he wanted us to help him make sure that if there's any chaos or confusion that we were there to help keep things calm. >> how would you characterize the meeting? was it tense? >> i would characterize it as tense. anytime you're dealing with a meeting in chicago, it's going to be tense, regardless of how you try to structure or talk about it. it's a very tense situation, and rightfully so. >> in the meeting was there a discussion of why it has taken chicago over a year to get to a determination in this case and bring these charges. >> they said it took them a year, a whole year to come to
the conclusions that they came to today. and for most of us in chicago, we feel like that's insensitive, that's not something that should have been done. it would have been done much earlier, and probably if it had been done earlier, we would not be in the situation we were in today. >> and to be very clear, you weren't going to have these charges brought tonight if they weren't forced to release that police dash cam video, because the prosecutor admits she wouldn't have brought the charges even still if it weren't for the release of that video. let's let the prosecutor make the case now why it has taken her over a year to get to this point in what turns out to be a very simple murder case. let's listen to this. >> when you're investigating police officer cases, it's not
the same as you investigating one gang member shooting another. it just isn't. you have to understand the use of force model. you have to understand how officers are traened. officers do have a right to use reasonable force. they can use deadly force when appropriate. so you have to understand all of that before you look at a case. you simply can't in a case like this make a flit split-second decision by watching the video one time and determine what occurred. >> there are a number of witnesses that were interviewed in this case. physical evidence looked for. looking for videotapes from the businesses vournding there. there was a lot of work done on this case. an absolute lot of work. and that adds to the year that we've been investigating. >> jamie calvin, she didn't show a lot of work today in bringing these charges. she relied on exactly one eyewitness and the videotape to describe why she brought the charges today. and the independent civilian
review board that looked into it took less than two weeks to get this officer removed from duty, from police duties after this incident occurred. >> actually, i'm not sure that's accurate about the independent police review authority. they're conducting an investigation. and, in fact, their investigations take on average 18 months in police shooting cases to come to a determination. which is almost invariably a determination that the shooting was justified. in if the accounts i saw today, they presented their findings as such as they were about 14 days after the shooting, and at that point, it was taken over by prosecutors. >> yeah, so i would be -- >> at that point, he was removed based on their findings at that stage. >> right. i would be highly skeptical about that assertion. i don't have knowledge of that, but it was more than 14 days after the shooting that we got the tip from somebody close to
the investigation that they were very concerned that it would not be vigorously investigated by the endependent police review authority. so i think this may be, you know, a new narrative, a new narrative frame for the city administration about how they've handled the case. >> if i may add -- >> go ahead, pastor brooks. >> if i could just add something there. i hear what you're saying, but if you have enough information to settle a case for $5 million, i would think you have enough information to bring about charges. if you could do that in that amount of time, then why wouldn't you bring charges in the same amount of time. that's the thing that baffles a lot of people here in chicago. >> and joy reid, the prosecutor uses this very colorful language that you can't make a split-second decision by watching the decision one time. okay, well, how about watching it 1,000 times and getting this done in a month, because this takes one minute to watch each
time you watch it. >> i think the entire video is like 20 minutes long. and here's the thing. this is why so many americans are troubled by these cases and the general police-involved shootings. american citizens are prosecuted every single day, and it very rarely take mrs. than a few days for prosecutors to decide that a citizen is prosecutable for a crime. the bar for police is so insurmountably high, even in a case where your eyes are looking at the video and telling you what happened, where it seems blatantly obvious what happened, the bar is so incredibly high, and the reluctance of prosecutors to bring these cases is so plain, the agony with which they go through, the agony they go through in order to bring these cases is so clear that citizens have now come to expect no justice in a case that even seems clear, whether it's the rodney king case. you're watching the beating
happen and it takes the federal government to step in. the confidence the citizenry has in our prosecutors and in due process is eroded when you need 400 days to determine that what people are seeing on a video is what they're seeing on a video. >> if the dash cam video did not exist, would the police lie that this officer was threatened, would that lie have survived and would there be charges tonight? jamie calvin, you go first. >> it's hard to imagine the police narrative wouldn't have sur vooied absent the video. and just following on the last comment, there are two dimensions of police accountability. run are the act, the alleged abuses. the other, and it's critical, to addressing these problems, is the institutional response. and here, i think, the institutional response betrays
all sorts of profound, systemic problems that actually breed and shield police abuse. >> bass tor cory brook, if that video did not exist, where would we be tonight? >> if that video did not exist, we would not be here tonight talking about this case. it would be something that's behind us. it would be a $5.2 million settlement. it would have been swept under the carpet and we would be going about our own daily routines here in chicago. unfortunately that happens quite often. >> i suppose if there was a settlement, there would beless than $5 million based on the video when they had seen at that point with that settlement .. thank you both for joining us. thank you for joining us tonight. the tense situation along the mediterranean sea is even worse now that turkey has shot down a
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it cannot be tolerated, it must be destroyed. we must do it together. >> the situation was complicated when a turkish air force shot down a russian fire jet near the syrian border. the turkish officials say they violated tush irk air space and ignored ten warnings to leave. the russian officials deny that saying they were conducting op it operations against isis. one pilot was killed while with ejecting and the other was killed during a rescue rop ration. at the white house, president obama said this -- >> turkey, like every country, has a right to defend its territory and its air space. i think it's very important
right now for us to make sure that both the russians and the turks are talking to each other, find out exactly what happened and take meds sures to discourage any kind of escalation. i do think that this points to an ongoing problem with the russian operations in the sense that they are operating very close to a turkish border. >> joining us now, an nbc contributor, also with us, laura haim. what i just heard the president say, he clearly seemed to have picked turkey's side over russia
in this situation today. >> well, a fellow member of nato. i don't think he could exactly pick the russian side on this. but they're very, very worried this will escalate. it takes us back to an era that starts to feel like the cold war. there's warfare going on right on the edge of nato. at the same time, they're trying to russia to cooperate with them on the attack with isis. in the meantime, nobody is talking about crimea and what's going on in ukraine. it's become a complicated chess
board out there in the middle east and eastern europe. and i don't think anybody has really figured out what to do. i don't think putin thought the did you recollects would ever shoot down a russian plane. >> yeah, he didn't have a particularly sharp reaction to it today. >> it took him all day to respond, all day to respond. they kept saying no, it's ground fire, it's something else. >> it kind of didn't want to admit they could have a plane taken down that way. laura haim, you asked one of the key questions as the press conference today, let's listen to that. >> translator: mr. president, the americans have some special forces in syria. beyond the words and beyond what is happening, are you going to send some special forces as well to syria? are you considering system ground intervention there? france will not intervene militarily on the ground. it is for the local forces to do so. we've been supporting them for a
number of months. we will continue to do so. >> laura, was there any consideration that france would commit ground troops. the ground troops in syria, nay warned the americans to go there. they're asking a lot of people to go there. and basically they absolutely don't want troops in syria, even french special forces for the moment. it's completely out of question. what do they want, they want local countries, arab countries to go to syria and to try to do the job. and it's going to be a problem because at this moment, they want more bombings on key cities. they bomb today the west of mosul. they really think that with our forces, it's going to happen. and isis is going to be
concerned. they don't want ground forces to reinforce that. and again, they're trying to beat the coalition. we're going to see what happens in the next days or weeks. >> and christopher, trying to get so-called local forces to take the place of american or french ground troops in this situation has been a kind of wishful thought for a while now. and i can understand how the paris attacks would strengthen french resolve in terms of air strikes, strengthen the american resolve in terms of air strikes, but how do the french attacks create any more momentum toward getting people on the ground there to fight against islamic state. they're going to be operating in iraq. there's going to be smik of a resurgent iraqi army with
support from the united states. then you've got the kurds, the iraqi kurds and the syrian kurds moving in towards raqqah towards the key strong holds of the islamic state. all of 245 means the territory of the islamic state is shrinking but not enough to affect something like the attacks in paris. and, in of the, the more it shrinks, arguably, the more isis will feel it needs to strike out in france and europe, maybe in the united states. >> before we go, how is president hollande's tour strengthening the alliance. how is that playing in france? >> he made him the negotiator in chief, meaning that today he was in washington, tomorrow he was going to germany, then he's going to moscow to see putin. then he's going to see the
chinese president, maybe we just find out there was something very quickly i wanted to tell you, lawrence. we asked the french advisers about how are you going to defeat isis. what's the sign of victory. thank you both for joining us tonight. what happens if bashar al assad does leave syria. and tonight's last word, "the new york times" and "the washington post" decided to call donald trump's lies lies. you're looking at live video from chicago where peaceful protests continue tonight after the release of that police dash cam video showing what
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french president hollande and obama said they're in agreement with the best way to bring about peace with syria. >> president hollande and i agree that the best way to bring peace to syria is through the principles reaffirmed in vienna, which require active russian support for a cease-fire and a political transition away from assad to a democratically-elected government that can unite the syrian people against terrorism. >> >> translator: like we said and we can repeat it, bashar al assad cannot be the future of syria. we must work on that transition. a transition where bashar al assad plays no role. because he's been the problem. he cannot be the solution. >> sk of course, the syrian president still has the backing of russia and iran. joining us now is the author of "in the lion's den" an eyewitness account of washington's battle with syria.
how much of this is wishful thinking. the way i watch these people talk about removing assad for years now, i just -- it's hard to imagine what they think happens next that will make that happen. >> that's a very to good point. wh we know is that they're going to try to arrange a cease-fire and negotiations within one month. and then somehow cobble together some sort of national unity-like government in six months and hold elections in 18 months. cease-fires haven't worked in syria before. a national unity government seems far fetch and elections in syria quite frankly are, and i observed two of them myself, a joke. >> so how would you compare this nation building dream that these people outside of syria have for syria. how would you compare that nation building project to the nation building we engaged in or tried to engage in in iraq?
is syria more difficult to do that than iraq was? >> it is more difficult. there are more moving parts. it's also more difficult in a sense because we don't have ground forces there. of course, the u.s. by invading iraq in a sense broke it in a way. and then there were some tools to fix it in syria. there is the unintended consequences of standing by and watching it deinvolve. i'm afraid that's where the oobama administration is at moment. >> they have this timetable that's very close in time. they expect actual things to start happening in january, and they expect assad to voluntarily engage in a timetable starting in january that would lead to hitz removal. what are the prospects of that, the russian and iranian peace in this? >> i think the chances are slim you can get assad to go on his own. the role the russians plays,
they prop up the assad regime militarily. i think the question is, is their intervention so costly they turn on assad and make some sort of arrangement. we've quite frankly don't know. the principles in vienna are sound. assad does have to go to put the pieces of the country back together again. bow how to get rid of him is the hard part. >> if he goes, we would be trading chaos for worse chaos? or less chaos. >> that's just it. nobody wants catastrophic collapse. the silver lining in the russian intervention, the catastrophic collapse is put off for now. what we want is a managed transition, maybe even a controlled transition of sorts but it's difficult to do without having ground forces inside of syria. perhaps via neighboring country, it's possible. you have to agree on that settlement and the international community doesn't agree to this
day, and the sian parties don't agree, so i don't expect that we're going to meet the timetable laid out in vienna. >> thanks for joining us tonight. >> my pleasure. >> coming up, "the new york times" issues a challenge today to interviewers of donald trump. it's time to call a lie a lie. ♪ ♪ how else do you think he gets around so fast? take the reins this holiday and get the mercedes-benz you've always wanted during the winter event. hurry, offers end soon.
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a court in belgium issued an international arrest warrant for 30-year-old mohammed abrini. we have the latest. >> before today, we had never heard of him, but now he's essentially on the most wanted list because his picture is plastered everywhere across europe. taken from surveillance video, extensive video at a gas station about an hour and a half north of here. the pictures taken two days before the attacks, and he was driving a renault cleo. the passenger in that car, europe's most wanted, salah abdeslam. police say both men are considered armed and dangerous, but they're hoping someone will see these pictures and give them information that will lead them to these two wanted men. in the meantime, the paris prosecutor also had new
information on abdelhamid abaaoud, who was killed in a raise in saint-denis last tuesday night into wednesday morning. they say later that day, when or thursday, he planned to take his suicide vest into the business district here in paris and kill more innocent people. so that raid may well have thwarted yet another terrorist attack. they also have a fascinating time line where they're following his cell phone. they believe he was one of the shooters in the restaurants and cafes where people died, including one just five minutes from here, where the single american was killed. finally, one last look at the wide net that they're spreading here all across france with 1233 searches, 165 people taken into custody, 124 people indicted.
among them, the landlord of that apartment in saint-denis. police say he had been telling them for days he didn't know he was harboring terrorists. clearly, they didn't believe him. >> chris jansing, thanks. coming up, the last word tonight about how tv interviewers should handle donald trump. that's why there's coricidin® hbp. it relieves cold symptoms without raising blood pressure. so look for powerful cold medicine with a heart. coricidin® hbp.
>> you're looking at live video from chicago tonight where protesters have peacefully taken to the streets. you can see they have now an illuminated sign with the name laquan. laquan mcdonald, the 17-year-old who was shot and killed on october 20, 2014. a chicago police officer, dia i son van dyke, who has now been charged with first degree murder in that case. (exec 1) well, directv beat us in customer satisfaction
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go ahead. he can't lift the hammer. it's okay though! you're going to change the world. "the new york times" is mad as hell and can't take it anymore on donald trump. they're finally calling donald trump's lies, lies. in a condemning editorial today. they comet paired donald trump one of the worst liars in american political history. also today, "the washington post" decided to call donald
trump's lies lies, the day after trump tried to use an old washington post article to justify the worst lie he has -- told. >> i watched the world trade center come down and i watched in jersey city, jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down. >> he's lying, of course, he never saw that and thousands of thousands of feel did not do that. it never happened. in today's editorial, "the washington post" said mr. trump spreads the lie that thousands of american muslims openly celebrated the 2001 attacks on the world trade center. in fact, there were no such celebrations. donald trump lies because he knows he can get away with it. the most impolite candidate in american history relien s on the politeness of his interviews to get away with lying.
>> it did happen. i saw it. >> you saw that with your own eyes? >> george, it did happen. there were people cheer on the other side of new jersey where you have large arab populations. they were cheering as the world trade center came down. i know it might be not politically correct for you to talk about it, but there were people cheering as that building came down, as those buildings came down. and that tells you something. it was well covered at the time, george. now, i know they don't like to talk about it. but it was well covered at the time. there were heavy arab populations in new jersey cheering as the building kams down. not good. >> as i said, the police say it didn't happen. i want to move on right now -- >> domd b trump knows that george can't tell his audience that trump is lying there because the industry convention of sunday morning political chat is that they never call a lie a lie. that's just too impolite for sunday mornings.
and trump exploits that politeness. but it's not just politeness at work. donald trump gets good ratings on these shows. and if one of the hosts tells trump he's lying in the middle of an interview, that host will never get a chance to interview donald trump again. but his competitors will. the interview routine has now been left -- has now become, let trump tell a big lie and then ask him some inane time-wasting question about poll numbers. and let's just stipulate here that every question to any candidate about poll numbers is an inane waste of time, and utter failure of the imagination. asking a candidate a question about poll numbers means you've already asked every question candidate about pollicy numbers is an inane waste of time, and utter failure of the imagination. asking a candidate a question about poll numbers means you've
already asked every question donald trump knows he has an open invitation to appear on this show which, of course, he will never accept. because he also knows that he would not get away with a single lie here. donald trump knows there is no politeness limitation here that would inhibit me from calling him a liar, as i have done, many times for many years. and as "the new york times" and "the washington post" are now finally doing. donald trump also knows that i'm happy to keep doing this show without ever getting the ratings bump of an incoherent trump interview. the time has come for donald trump's tv interviewers to tell him that he is lying as soon as he floats his next lie on tv. if they don't, they risk becoming accomplices of a lying demagogue. in its editorials today about donald trump's lies, "the new york times" issued this challenge to donald trump's interviews. history teaches that failing to hold a demagogue to account is a dangerous act. it's no easy task for journalists to interrupt mr. trump with facts.
bhu it's an important run. and that's tonight's "last word." chicago's mayor calls for calm after the release of a videotape of a white police officer shooting and killing a black teenager. this is "hardball." good evening. i'm steve kornacki in for chris matthews. breaking news tonight. chicago is bracing for protests after the release of a dash cam video footage that shows chicago officer jason van dyke shooting and killing 17-year-old laquan mcdonald in a deadly and disturbing confrontation last october. officer van dyke has now been charged with first-degree murder for shooting mcdonald without