WATCH: US police officer shoots black teen 16 times

2015-11-25 08:13
Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with first degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (Cook County State's Attorney's Office, AP)

Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with first degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (Cook County State's Attorney's Office, AP)

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Chicago - Racial tensions soared here on Tuesday as a police officer was charged with murdering a black teen and officials have release a graphic video of the shooting.

It came the day after unidentified assailants opened fire on civil rights protesters in Minneapolis, wounding five, none seriously.

Minneapolis police said they have arrested two suspects in the shooting, a 23-year-old white man and a 32 year-old Hispanic and a search was on for additional suspects.

Police tactics in African American communities have been a source of recurrent tensions since the 2014 police shooting of an unarmed black teen Ferguson, Missouri.

'Chilling' dashcam video

In Chicago, police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder Tuesday in the October 2014 killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times.

City leaders called for calm after a judge ordered a police dashcam video of the shooting released to the public no later than Wednesday.

"It is graphic, it is violent, it is chilling," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters after Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder.

"To watch a 17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing and I have absolutely no doubt this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans."

The video shows that Van Dyke opened fire less than 30 seconds after arriving at the scene and just six seconds after getting out of his vehicle, Alvarez said. He continued to shoot after McDonald's body hit the ground.

McDonald, who was holding a knife when he was shot and had earlier slashed at the tires of a police cruiser was moving away from Van Dyke and made no threatening gestures when he was shot, Alvarez said.

The seven other responding officers did not believe deadly force was necessary, she added.

It was the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in more than 30 years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

"This is a violation of your conscience and it is wrong and it is hideous," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters on Monday.

Emanuel urged community leaders to press residents to express their right to protest in a "responsible, focused, peaceful way so your voices and your ideas are heard."

The city approved a $5m settlement for McDonald's family in April and federal authorities are investigating the case.

His family has said they do not want the video released because it will be too painful to see it played over and over again on the news.

"My nephew is shot in the back and all of those other places 16 times. Even when he was on the ground, the officer was still shooting him," McDonald's uncle Shyrell Johnson told WGN-TV last week.

Police had initially said McDonald was high on PCP, acting erratically and lunged at the officers with a knife.

Minneapolis protest

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, tensions were running high after Monday night's shooting at protesters demonstrating over police killing of another black man, 24-year-old Jamar Clark.

Black Lives Matter, a movement formed in the aftermath of last year's unrest in Ferguson, blamed the attack on white supremacists, vowing on their Facebook page: "We won't be intimidated."

Minneapolis police said Clark died in a struggle with police responding to a domestic disturbance.

His brother Eddie Sutton thanked demonstrators for their vigilance but asked them to suspend their protests, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"In light of tonight's shootings, the family feels out of imminent concern for the safety of the occupiers, we must get the occupation of the Fourth Precinct ended and onto the next step."

WARNING: This video may be to graphic for sensitive viewers.

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