Suspicions over missing CCTV footage from Chicago Burger King of police shooting black teen

A worker repairs a sign on a Burger King restaurant on the city's Southwest side in Chicago, Illinois.
A worker repairs a sign on a Burger King restaurant on the city's Southwest side in Chicago, Illinois.PHOTO: AFP

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Chicago officials on Friday (Dec 4) released a video from a nearby Burger King restaurant taken on the night a police officer fatally shot a black teen, but it was missing the time period when the 2014 shooting occurred.

The missing footage has led to allegations of tampering with evidence and of a police cover-up in the case, which have been strongly denied by police and prosecutors.

Officials had gathered video evidence on the night of the shooting from nearby businesses on the city's south-west side, including a Burger King restaurant.

The footage, released in response to a public records request, showed a gap of 86 minutes, including the time when the teenager was shot.

The tape has no sound and shows policemen in the Burger King after the shooting, with one working at a computer monitor.

Cook County prosecutors have said an investigation had ruled out tampering. The Chicago Sun-Times cited a source close to a Federal Bureau of Investigation probe as saying the Burger King security video system often broke down and had frequent gaps.

There are no other major gaps in the video from the restaurant that day, according to footage viewed by Reuters.

Last week, the city released police car dashboard camera video that showed Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014.

On the same day the video was released, Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder.

Protests erupted afterwards in the country's third largest city, culminating in the firing of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday.

Critics of the mayor and of the local prosecutor have complained that it took too long for charges to be filed.

High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white police officers in United States cities have fueled protests over the past two years and prompted a national debate about the use of excessive force by police.

The city plans to release dashboard camera video of another fatal police shooting of a black man by a white police officer from October 2014. It was not immediately known when the video of Ronald Johnson's shooting would be released.

Also on Friday, about 50 protesters, including civil rights leader Jesse Jackson, marched around City Hall demanding an independent investigation of the case.

"We need to get some justice here," said Mr Ron Wilson, a minister from suburban Hazel Crest. "There's no reason for holding on to those tapes for 13 months."