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Chicago police videos of black teen McDonald's death lack sounds; protests planned for 'Black Friday'

| Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
Protesters block an intersection in Chicago during a demonstration in response to the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

CHICAGO — Newly released videos taken at the scene of the shooting of a black teenager by a white Chicago patrolman could raise fresh questions about whether police properly documented the killing, as the city braced for more protests over the weekend.

Like the first video released Tuesday, the new footage inexplicably lacks discernible audio of the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke, according to the Chicago Tribune, which obtained the recordings.

As a result, the sounds of 16 gunshots that hit the teen, any commands shouted by police officers or other remarks are not available, the newspaper said. The footage does not show the shooting and offers few new visual details about the incident.

McDonald's killing and the 13-month delay in releasing any video taken by dashboard cameras on squad cars at the scene have led to days of demonstrations in Chicago over police treatment of blacks and other minorities.

Activists say a culture of racial bias runs deep in the city's police department despite reform efforts.

The powerful Chicago Teachers Union on Thursday endorsed a “Black Friday” march organized by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, to protest McDonald's shooting, and called for an independent investigation of what it described as a “cover-up.”

“We have watched in anger and disappointment as the city has covered up police violence,” CTU Vice President Jesse Sharkey said in a statement.

“Chicago's response to Laquan's death appears calculated to minimize political damage to the mayor, by removing this case from the election cycle,” he said, referring to a gap between the shooting and the first-degree murder charge brought against Van Dyke on Tuesday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel was re-elected to a second term in an April runoff after failing to win a majority in the February election. The CTU opposed a new term for the mayor because of his aggressive program of closing public schools to save money.

Protesters appeared to be waiting until the day after Thanksgiving, the so-called “Black Friday” that marks the traditional kickoff to the holiday shopping season, before returning to the streets. Just before marchers set off for the annual Thanksgiving Day parade on Thursday, there were no demonstrators in sight.

Meanwhile, Van Dyke was named in at least 20 citizen complaints between 2008 and 2013, including allegations of misconduct in the use of force.

Van Dyke, a 14-year veteran on the Chicago police force, did not face disciplinary action in any of the cases. Investigations into the complaints, which included allegations of excessive use of force, verbal abuse and excessive force involving a firearm, ended with a finding of “not sustained” in five cases, “unfounded” in five, “exonerated” in four, an “unknown” outcome in five, and “no action” taken in one case.

Van Dyke, who is married with two children, has been jailed pending a second bail hearing Monday.

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