The lights dimmed as nearly 20 Chicago police officers turned their attention to the dashboard camera video playing in the training room where they had gathered for a new, mandatory course on the proper use of deadly force.
In the footage, an agitated man wielded a knife as he moved down a street with a quick step, ignoring the blinking lights of police vehicles that had surrounded him.
The scene did not play out on South Pulaski Road, and the man was not Laquan McDonald— though the images looked strikingly similar to the infamous video that captured the teen’s 2014 fatal shooting by a Chicago police officer as he walked away, refusing to drop a knife.
Instead, this footage came from a police dashcam in New Mexico, and the man ended up being stopped with a stun gun.
Even though McDonald’s name was never mentioned, the video still raised a haunting suggestion: There might have been a different outcome that night in Chicago.
The November court-ordered release of the troubling footage of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times upended policing in Chicago, leading to sustained street protests and a U.S. Justice Department investigation into whether there’s a pattern of excessive force by the Police Department against citizens.