This afternoon, a Cook County Circuit Court will hear argument in a case seeking the release of video recorded by a Chicago police dashboard camera, video that shows the shooting death of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald. The video has been the subject of wide discussion and speculation, including vivid descriptions of the video’s contents in the media.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois today issued the following statement regarding this matter.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois fully supports the public release of the Laquan McDonald video. Transparency about our police force is a critical component of public oversight and accountability. The release of this video, which long has been the subject of detailed descriptions and discussions of its content, will not impede any on-going investigations.
It is now time for the public to have access to the video, so that the body politic can make their own determination about its value and its relevance.
Videos such as this one have been released across the nation furthering an important and necessary discussion on policing and police-community relations. Based on the descriptions alone, this video should advance discussions in the City of Chicago about the need for better police training emphasizing de-escalation rather than relying on force; the need to end of the secrecy that surrounds police activities; and the value of more public input and oversight of police activities.
It is time for the video to be released.