Chicago police officer George Hernandez is not being charged in the shooting death of Ronald Johnson III, according to an announcement made by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The announcement was made by Alvarez on Monday afternoon, according to a CBS News report on Monday. Twenty-five-year old Johnson, an African-American, was shot and killed in October of 2014. (CLICK HERE to view the YouTube video of the Ronald Johnson shooting by Chicago police.)
Approximately two weeks ago, Alvarez did charge another Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an incident involving a black teen being shot and killed by a white policeman – just before a dash cam video of that shooting was finally released for public view some 13 months after that shooting had occurred. In that case, much controversy has surrounded the release of the video as it is alleged to have been a cover-up by Alvarez and Mayor Rahm Emanuel to avoid bad publicity for Emanuel prior to his mayoral election.
According to reports regarding the Johnson incident, police maintain that Johnson pointed a gun at police officers before he was shot in the back by Hernandez. Regarding this incident, Johnson’s mother – Dorothy Holmes, who has filed a federal lawsuit against Hernandez and the city in 2014 – has been pressuring the city of Chicago to release the video. She claims that the video will support the notion that her son was running away from police officers when he was shot and killed. A grainy dash cam video of the incident shows Johnson running across a street in the nighttime with several officers chasing him. The video allegedly shows one of the officers shooting as fire flares from the barrel of a weapon. Yet Alvarez said after showing the video:
We’re in different times right now when we’re talking about transparency and what the public wants to see. I have pretty much opened the door here.
According to prosecutors, Johnson was hit just as his image in the video goes out of view. Assistant State’s Attorney Lynn McCarthy slowed the video down to show what she said was a gun in the 25-year old’s hand. She asserts that the weapon in his hand was a semi-automatic pistol having 12 live rounds of ammunition loaded. The same as the Laquan McDonald video, there is no audio accompanying the video. The missing audio raises the question as to whether police officers may have switched the audio feature off in an alleged intention to conceal what they had done.
Regarding the audio not being functioning on the dash cams, Alvarez said:
That’s a problem for the Chicago police department, and I think they need to answer to that.
She also said:
Time and time again, we look at these videos and there is not any audio.
McCarthy claims that officers continually shouted at Johnson to stop and drop his weapon but that he would not do as commanded. The new video release has transpired in Chicago as U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced an investigation into the Chicago Police Department for possible civil rights and other violations. Lynch made her high-profile announcement of the newest investigation into the Chicago Police Department on Monday morning, according to Yahoo! News. Protests regarding the Laquan McDonald shooting and video continue to take place in Chicago since the video was released 12 days ago.