Chicago braced for further protests

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© By The All-Nite Images, via Wikimedia Commons

AUTHORITIES in Chicago are preparing for more protests after the release of video footage showing the killing of a black teenager by police. 

A video showing the October 20 2014 confrontation was made public on judge’s orders on Tuesday, following murder charges being brought against a white Chicago officer.

17-year-old Laquan McDonald was marching down a two-way street when accosted by two armed officers. After briefly turning towards them he was shot dead with autopsy reports indicating he was hit 16 times, the majority as he lay prone on the ground. 

Tensions arose when activists took to the streets to protest with no serious escalations, though more organised demonstrations are planned for Wednesday outside city hall. 

The unusual step of charging officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder is hoped to mitigate more serious reactions from a community still reeling from recent police violence.

State’s attorney Anita Alvarez said about the video release: “It’s really important for public safety that the citizens of Chicago know that this officer is being held responsible for his actions.”, while city Mayor Rahm Emanuel has claimed that Van Dyke ‘does not represent the police department.’

Officials are keen to prevent an outbreak of violence as seen in Ferguson and Baltimore recently after the killing of other black men, which have sparked nationwide debate on the nature of police brutality.  

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