Rick Rowley

Rowley ’94 wins Emmy for documentary, cover-up about police shooting

Director and writer Rick Rowley ‘94 won an Emmy for best Investigative Documentary for 16 Shots, a film that chronicles the aftermath of the fatal shooting of a black teen by a Chicago police officer and the cover-up that followed.

Laquan McDonald, 17, was killed on Oct. 20, 2014, by officer Jason Van Dyke. Police had initially reported that McDonald was behaving erratically while walking down the street, refusing to put down a knife. Preliminary internal police reports described the incident similarly, leading to the incident being judged a justifiable shooting and to Van Dyke not being charged at that time.

A dash cam video showed McDonald had been walking away from the police when he was shot. Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder.

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote, “16 Shots is a very deliberate, ominous documentary, filled with views of the Chicago skyline and a pulsing score, but Rowley makes several smart decisions as a storyteller.”

Rowley also directed the 2013 film Dirty Wars, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.


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