The embattled Chicago Police Department is currently facing two major PR nightmares. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has recommended that Officer Dante Servin, who shot Rekia Boyd, an unarmed Black woman, be terminated. At the same time, the city is bracing for the release of a video that shows Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times. McDonald had been acting erratically and was believed to be under the influence when approached by police. He was carrying a small knife and walking away from officers when he was shot multiple times in the back.
According to Chicago ABC affiliate WLS, Servin, who shot Boyd in 2012, was off duty when he got into a confrontation with a group of people in a park. Servin said he saw one of the men in the group approaching his car and pulling out a weapon, so he fired five times. Boyd was struck and killed by one of the bullets. The city of Chicago settled with Boyd’s family for $4.5 million.
Servin was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter in April, however McCarthy recommended his firing. The Independent Police Review Authority also agreed with his decision.
“His actions tragically resulted in the death of an innocent young woman and an unthinkable loss for a Chicago family and community,” said McCarthy.
According to The Chicago Tribune, officer Van Dyke has been charged with murder. This represents the first time an on-duty Chicago police officer has been charged with murder in 35 years. Van Dyke is to expected appear in a Cook County court today. He could face a minimum of 20 years in jail if convicted.
Meanwhile, the city is on edge as the video of the McDonald shooting is set to be released tomorrow. Although the incident happened in 2014, the city spent the past year fighting to suppress the tape, concerned its release would spark rioting. They also quickly paid the McDonald family a $5 million settlement, before they even filed a lawsuit, to keep them quiet.
People who have seen the tape say it’s horrifying. According to Lorenzo Davis, a former Chicago police commander and whistleblower, the contents of the tape are difficult to watch.
“I’ve talked to people who have seen it, and they were horrified by what they saw. Grown men were brought to tears,” said Davis.
Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel admitted the tape was shocking.
“What happened here is wrong. There is no justification and it’s profoundly hideous, in my view,” said Emanuel during a meeting with local ministers, according to “And it’s a shock to your conscience of what happened, and it should not have happened.”