I probably should leave this topic alone, but it has been on the news cycle daily so ever since I watched the video of the October 20, 2014 shooting I just keep scratching my head about several things. The first of which is why the Laquan didn’t just drop the knife and surrender. According to the Chicago Tribune he had PCP in his system which would explain the hyper behavior. Knowing now he was severely impaired by a hallucinogen explains his dangerous behavior and lack of reasonable judgement. In the video we see shots fired at Laquan as he moved down the road and the impact of those shots. The most disturbing of which is the rounds hitting as he was lying on the ground after he spun around. The question in my mind is why did the officer shoot in the first place when Laquan made no movement in the direction of the officer which I could see, perhaps someone else noticed something different. Checking the video again, Laquan is actually moving away from the position of the officers. I see this as an opportunity to use a Taser or other non-lethal methods such as beanbag rounds or pepper spray. Someone had to know he had a knife and not a gun so a well placed round in the wrist would have ended that portion of the event quickly allowing them to eventually restrain the young man. Instead the officer arrived, jumped out, and opened fire.
So now the officer is charged with first degree murder and I don’t understand that either unless they have evidence he planned to shoot and kill Laquan. I can see a charge of manslaughter or a lesser murder charge since there was no credible threat to him or other officers at the moment of the shooting, and also no reason to shoot a suspect lying on the ground. Had Laquan gotten up and lunged at the officer then we’d be having a much different discussion. I think the DA is overreaching with these charges. I also think the DA should be fired for waiting over a year to bring charges. As soon as they reviewed the dashcam footage a grand jury should have been convened and the charges brought forth. I can fully understand the frustration of the family and others when it takes more than a year to decide what charges to bring. Is it any wonder Chicago has turned into the murder capital of the US when they cannot even bring charges and they have the crime on videotape?
From where I sit there are several takeaways from this incident. Number one would be to not take drugs and commit crimes. If Laquan had not taken PCP , had not carried a knife, and had not committed crimes he would most likely be alive today. The second would be officers need to be look at non-lethal means to end a confrontation and to only use deadly force when absolutely necessary. The third would be to not shoot a suspect once they are lying on the ground. The fourth would be to bring charges as quickly as possible following an incident. Sure there are peer reviews and outside agency investigations, but a year later is preposterous. It does not bring justice for the family of the deceased and it does not bring closure to the officer involved in the incident. The bottom line is this should have never happened and the incident could have been prevented by Laquan and should have been handled differently by the officer.