How $16M Demand Over Chicago Police Shooting Ended In $5 Million Deal


Sixteen million dollars — $1 million for each bullet that Officer Jason Van Dyke fired into Laquan McDonald. That's what lawyers representing the mother of the 17-year-old killed in the caught-on-video shooting demanded, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. A month later, they settled with the city of Chicago for $5 million in a deal giving the lawyers what they thought would be a $2 million cut of that, without even filing a lawsuit. The lawyers’ share ended up being $1.8 million. They didn't need to sue because they had a copy of a Chicago Police Department video showing Van Dyke firing shot after shot at McDonald, even after the teenager crumpled to the ground and other officers held their fire.

That video would prove officers falsified reports of the shooting, which cost Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy his job, cast a harsh spotlight on Mayor Rahm Emanuel and brought Justice Department lawyers to Chicago to investigate the police department. During negotiations, the McDonald family lawyers refused the city's request to keep the video confidential until the conclusion of the investigation into the shooting, which resulted in Van Dyke's indictment last week for first-degree murder. The lawyers kept the video under wraps anyway as City Hall fought for the next eight months against releasing it to reporters, ultimately doing so only after a judge ruled the city had to. The Sun-Times traces how the big settlement evolved.

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