The Ronald Johnson Shooting Video Released Along With News That The Chicago Officer Won't Be Charged
On Monday, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez released the dascham video of the Ronald Johnson III shooting, after announcing that the police officer who shot Johnson, George Hernandez, won't be charged. Johnson, a 25-year-old black man, was fatally shot in Chicago in October 2014. Police said that Hernandez opened fire after Johnson pointed a gun at him as he chased Johnson on foot. The dashcam video shows Johnson holding a gun. "No criminal charges should be filed because the crime cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt," Alvarez said in a news conference.
Johnson's family filed a lawsuit for the video to be released, but the city fought it, saying that making the it public would threaten the officer's right to a fair trial if he were charged with a crime. Since Hernandez won't be charged, there was no reason to keep the video hidden. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told reporters Thursday that the city would finally release it, amidst increasing pressure for police transparency after the dashcam video of Laquan McDonald's death was made public.
The video of Johnson's death doesn't have sound, but shows him exiting a car and running away from the officers. You can then see one officer fire his gun while Johnson's body is out of the frame. Alvarez said that Johnson was running toward two other officers, and that Hernandez fired his gun five times, hitting Johnson twice.
According to the police, officers responded to reports of shots fired the night Johnson was killed. When they found a man matching the suspect's description (Johnson), he fled and then pointed a gun at officers pursuing him. A 9mm handgun recovered from Johnson was linked to a previous unsolved Chicago shooting, Alvarez's office said.
Johnsons' family's attorney, Michael Oppenheimer, claims the police planted the weapon on Johnson after shooting him, and wanted Hernandez charged. "This could have been a lot easier if they released it 14 months ago. All of the lies, coverup, that's still going on," Oppenheimer told Fox 32 News Thursday.
Along with the video, Alvarez also released the 911 calls about the incident and written analysis of the case. She said that the FBI decided not to participate in the criminal investigation after agents saw the video last year.
Johnson was killed just eight days before McDonald was shot 16 times by the police. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Monday that the U.S. Justice Department opened an investigation into whether the Chicago police had "a pattern or practice of violations of the Constitution or federal law" in relation to McDonald's death. Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald, was charged with first-degree murder, but protesters have also called for Alvarez's resignation.