Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Tuesday he supported a new policy to release videos of police shootings and other incidents. City authorities are facing criticism for delay in releasing footage showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which probes officer-involved shootings, plans to release footage and other evidence in all future cases as well as current investigations within 60 days of the incident, the Associated Press reported. However, law enforcement agencies can seek to delay the release by another 30 days, the AP report added.
“Restoring trust between our police and the communities they’re sworn to serve is an essential part of our City’s public safety efforts, and this is an important step as we continue that work. Simply put, the longstanding policy the City followed for decades is out of date and this new policy strikes a better balance of ensuring transparency for the public while also ensuring any criminal or disciplinary investigations are not compromised,” Emanuel said, in a statement.
The mayor has come under fire with calls for his resignation, following the release of McDonald’s shooting video, which shows Van Dyke shooting the 17-year-old 16 times last November. His administration had stopped the release of the video saying that it was abiding by a policy, which does not allow footage of an ongoing criminal investigation to be made public.
Release of written materials related to any officer-involved shootings and incidents also come under the ambit of the new policy, which is the first to have been formed following a task force on police accountability created by Emanuel. Police had earlier argued that officer Van Dyke shot McDonald in self-defense, saying that the teenager lunged at the officer with a knife. An autopsy confirmed that McDonald was shot 16 times.
Van Dyke was indicted on six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct earlier this month. Protesters took to the streets criticizing the delay in releasing the footage and charging Van Dyke, who has pleaded not guilty.