911 audio of Laquan McDonald police shooting death released
For the first time, audio related to the Chicago police shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald has gone public. A 911 dispatcher refers to the McDonald as “the victim” before being corrected by a male officer calling him “the offender.”
Two hours of emergency dispatch audio from the October 20, 2014 event was ordered to be made public after Politico filed Freedom of Information Act requests. This follows last month’s release of police dashcam footage, which lacked an audio track.
Before McDonald was shot, officers are heard repeatedly asking for a Taser.
“Someone have a Taser?" an officer on scene is heard saying at about 5:45 into the second hour of the Politico audio file. "This guy is a walking away but he’s got a knife in hand."
Another officer radios that one is on the way, but it apparently never arrives or does too late. It is unclear whether or not any officers at the scene had a Taser.
“Let me know when he’s in custody, guys,” a female dispatcher says, but the next transmission comes with a fatal report.
“Fire by the police! Gunfire by the police!" a male voice yells.
"You guys OK?” the dispatcher is heard asking.
“Everything’s fine, call an ambulance over here,” another female on the scene answers.
At 19:06 during the second hour of the audio, the dispatcher says, "I need to get some info on the victim's condition, whatever you can, when you can, OK?"
That description gets corrected by a male officer who simply says, “The offender.”
"That’s what I meant. Sorry, I’m trying to do six things at once," the dispatcher replies.
When the audio was released on Wednesday, protests broke out in Chicago with more planned for Thursday, in what organizers are dubbing a "Black Christmas.”
A recent internal review by the Chicago Police Department's found 80 percent of its 850 dashcam video systems didn’t record audio, determining "operator error or in some cases intentional destruction" to be the cause. Additionally, 12 percent of the systems have "video issues" daily, caused by "equipment or operator error," according to spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.