The officer shot the 17-year-old 16 times, despite the fact that he appeared to pose no threat to anyone. McDonald was reportedly holding a knife, which he used to slash the tires of a police vehicle, but was moving away from officers at the time he was killed.
Van Dyke fired a “barrage of bullets” less than 30 seconds after arriving at the scene, and continued shooting as McDonald’s body was on the ground.
State Attorney Anita Alvarez ruled this was not a proper use of force and that it was not justified.
“With these charges, we are bringing a full measure of justice that this demands,” Alvarez told reporters on the day of his arrest.
Unrest swept the city as protests immediately erupted and continued throughout the weekend, as the video disproved police claims that McDonald had lunged at Van Dyke before being shot to death. The community was also outraged that it took 13 months for charges to be filed.
— Rob Elgas (@RobElgasABC7) November 30, 2015
Many have questioned whether there would have been charges had a judge had not sided with independent journalists who filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the footage.