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President Barack Obama said Wednesday that he was “deeply disturbed” by video released a day earlier showing the deadly police shooting of a black man in Chicago last year, and thanked protesters for remaining peaceful.
"Like many Americans, I was deeply disturbed by the footage of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald,” Obama said in a statement.
"This Thanksgiving, I ask everybody to keep those who’ve suffered tragic loss in our thoughts and prayers, and to be thankful for the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who protect our communities with honor," he said.
The video showing the shooting of Laquan during an encounter with police on Oct. 20, 2014 stirred nationwide outrage when it was released Tuesday.
Sixteen shots were fired, and the video shows some of those rounds being fired while Laquan was on the ground. Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton weighed in on the shooting earlier Wednesday. She stressed that most police officers are "honorably doing their duty."
"The family of Laquan McDonald and the people of Chicago deserve justice and accountability," Clinton said in a statement a day after the horrific dashboard camera footage of the 17-year-old being gunned down was released, igniting a fresh round of protests in the Windy City.
"As criminal charges proceed in this case, we also have to grapple as a country with broader questions about ensuring that all of our citizens and communities are protected as respected," she said.
Breaking News Emails
Demonstrations continued in Chicago Wednesday for a second straight night. “I’m personally grateful to the people of my hometown for keeping protests peaceful,” Obama said.
"The mothers I met recently in Chicago are right: we cannot go on like this," Clinton said. "All over America, there are police officers honorably doing their duty, demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples. The loss of so many young African Americans taken too soon should reaffirm our commitment to press forward for progress."
Clinton was born in Chicago but grew up in the nearby suburb of Park Ridge, Ill.
Prosecutors say Van Dyke fired on Laquan for 13 seconds as the mortally-wounded teen lay prone on the street, stopping only when he had to reload, according to charging documents released before the video.
Lawyers for Van Dyke said Laquan was armed with a knife and had PCP, better known as angel dust, in his system.
Van Dyke, who has been a cop for 14 years, is the first Chicago police officer in decades to be charged with murder in an on-duty shooting. The city had tried to keep the video under wraps, citing an ongoing investigation.
Critics, however, called it an attempted cover-up and complained that it took prosecutors 13 months to charge Van Dyke.
The City of Chicago has already paid Laquan's family $5 million. Van Dyke has been placed by the CPD on a "no-pay" status.