The new Showtime documentary “16 Shots” takes a close look at the 2014 fatal shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald by white Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who in January received a seven-year prison sentence for his murder.
The film, named after the number of times Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald, includes interviews with top-ranking members of the Chicago Police Department at the time of the October 2014 incident, including former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and former Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo, along with attorneys for McDonald’s family and frontline activists like William Calloway, who pushed for the release of police dashcam video that showed the fatal encounter.
In the film, journalist Jamie Kalven, who blew the lid off the story in a February 2015 Slate article, notes the importance of McDonald’s autopsy.
“Autopsies are extraordinary documents,” Kalven says in the documentary. “They’re the victim testifying. The closest we have to Laquan McDonald giving an account of what happened to him is the autopsy.”
A notable absence from “16 Shots” is former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who won a competitive runoff election months before dashcam footage showing McDonald’s death was eventually released in November 2015.
Filmmaker Rick Rowley joins us to discuss his film.
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