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#LaquanMcDonald: As video released, cop charged with murder 1, activists demand Police Supt. McCarthy, State’s Attorney Alvarez resign

November 26, 2015

by DeAngelo Bester, Workers Center for Racial Justice

Chicago – The City of Chicago has just released, under court order, the dashcam video from the brutal killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer – and it’s as bad as we all expected.

Amid complaints from police that they’re being intimidated, Chicago youth, one on one, show they are not afraid during Nov. 24 protests over the dashcam video of Officer Van Dyke’s murder of Laquan McDonald. – Photo: Chicago Tribune

Amid complaints from police that they’re being intimidated, Chicago youth, one on one, show they are not afraid during Nov. 24 protests over the dashcam video of Officer Van Dyke’s murder of Laquan McDonald. – Photo: Chicago Tribune

At the same time as they released the video, the county prosecutor announced she’d be pursuing first degree murder charges against McDonald’s killer, Officer Jason Van Dyke. Unfortunately, these are charges that should have been filed a year ago, and that’s why we started this petition calling for real structural changes and oversight in the Chicago justice system, which says:

“On Oct. 20, 2014, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke brutally gunned down 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, shooting him 16 times. Because, for more than a year, Chicago city officials showed no intention of holding Officer Van Dyke accountable, we demand:

  • That Superintendent Garry McCarthy resign for his inability to end the culture of violence towards Black people within the Chicago Police Department.
  • That State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez resign for her continued protection of violent and corrupt police officers.
  • That Gov. Rauner appoint a special prosecutor to investigate this case and all future cases of police killings.
  • That the United Nations launch an immediate investigation of the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office for violating the human rights of Black people in the city of Chicago and Cook County.”

The city’s actions are late and insufficient – and that’s why we’re demanding the resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, an appointment of a special prosecutor, and a human rights investigation. Sign our petition if you agree.

A nearby restaurant caught Laquan’s murder on security video – but that video was erased by police. Now, with the release of devastating video evidence from police dashboard cameras, it is clear that the police lied and Laquan did not act in an aggressive manner.

More than a year after the killing, even with full evidence, Chicago city officials did nothing but reassign Officer Van Dyke to desk duty. But now that sustained grassroots mobilizations forced the city to release the video, city officials are finally charging Van Dyke as they try to blunt the expected outrage.

On Nov. 24, protesters demonstrate their rage at Chicago police after the release of the 2014 video of Laquan McDonald being shot by Officer Jason Van Dyke near Michigan Avenue. – Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

On Nov. 24, protesters demonstrate their rage at Chicago police after the release of the 2014 video of Laquan McDonald being shot by Officer Jason Van Dyke near Michigan Avenue. – Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

The city’s actions are late and insufficient – and that’s why we’re demanding the resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, an appointment of a special prosecutor, and a human rights investigation. Sign our petition if you agree.

Black Chicagoans face extreme levels of anti-Black violence and terrorism at the hands of the police. Earlier this year, a lawsuit was filed against the Chicago Police Department citing instances of police brutality and a secret detention center. And this is the same city where off-duty Officer Dante Servin shot and murdered Rekia Boyd while she was walking with a group of her friends.

Black Chicagoans face extreme levels of anti-Black violence and terrorism at the hands of the police.

That’s why, in addition to the resignations and special prosecutor appointment, we’re demanding truly independent investigation conducted by the United Nations and the Organization of American States into the violation of the human rights of Black people in Cook County and the city of Chicago.

DeAngelo Bester of the Workers Center for Racial Justice can be reached via http://petitions.moveon.org/contact_creator.html?petition_id=102737.

The National Bar Association calls for the resignations of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez

Washington, D.C. – The National Bar Association calls for the resignations of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez following the year long delay in filing murder charges against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Laquan McDonald was gunned down by Van Dyke on Oct. 20, 2014. Van Dyke had remained in a paid limited duty position on the police department until this Tuesday when it was announced that he would be charged with first-degree murder.

Laquan McDonald, killer cop Jason Van Dyke by State’s Attorney’s Office

Laquan McDonald, killer cop Jason Van Dyke – Photo: State’s Attorney’s Office

Earlier this year, journalist Brandon Smith filed a lawsuit claiming that the police department violated the Freedom of Information Act by refusing to release the video and other documents related to the shooting. On Thursday, Judge Franklin Valderrama ordered that the video be released by Nov. 25, 2015.

Van Dyke was charged on Nov. 24, 2015 shortly before the video was released. Until last week, the city had fought against releasing of the video.

The National Bar Association calls for the resignations of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez following the year long delay in filing murder charges against Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

“It is unacceptable that it took over a year to file these charges against Officer Van Dyke. Not only did it take a year to file these charges, but Van Dyke was able to continue in the capacity of a police officer during this delayed investigation. The video that State Attorney Alvarez relied on to finally bring forth charges has been available since day one. Why did it take so long? I believe that had there not been a court order to release the video, Officer Van Dyke would not have been charged,” said NBA President Benjamin L. Crump.

The National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national association comprised of more than 65,000 predominantly African-American lawyers, judges, educators and law students, can be reached at communications@nationalbar.org.

Color of Change demands resignation of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez is one of the worst prosecutors in America. Although she had access to the video of Laquan’s murder for over a year, she didn’t indict Officer Van Dyke until she knew the video would be released and her political career would be threatened if she didn’t act.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens as Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy tries to explain to the press on Nov. 24 why he took 400 days to release a dashcam video of CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke murdering Laquan McDonald. – Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens as Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy tries to explain to the press on Nov. 24 why he took 400 days to release a dashcam video of CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke murdering Laquan McDonald. – Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo, Chicago Tribune

According to the investigative journalists who broke news of the video, “at every level, from the cops on the scene to the highest levels of government, they responded [to Laquan’s killing] by circling the wagons and by fabricating a narrative that they knew was completely false.”

Of course, Prosecutor Alvarez is yet to charge any of the other officers or police leadership who helped cover up Laquan’s killing. How can we trust a prosecutor who protected Officer Van Dyke for a year knowing that he murdered a teenager?

What happened to Laquan is far too common in Chicago and across the country. Chicago police shoot on average 50 people a year, yet no one is ever charged. In fact, Chicago law enforcement kill more Black people than cops in almost every other city, and thanks to Prosecutor Alvarez this crisis is likely to continue.

Her failure to secure justice for Black families goes beyond negligence to deep-seated corruption. In April, Prosecutor Alvarez tanked the case against Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin for fatally shooting 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in order to protect her relationship to the local police union, which donates to her campaign.

What happened to Laquan is far too common in Chicago and across the country.

We cannot allow this corruption and systemic racial discrimination to continue. Prosecutor Alvarez is up for re-election next year. If enough people take action, we can get her out of office before it’s too late.

Chicago Urban League calls for federal investigation of the Chicago Police Department

Black PR Wire, Chicago –The Chicago Urban League (CUL) is formally requesting a U.S. Department of Justice “pattern and practice” investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD), CUL Interim President and CEO Shari Runner announced today.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez describes on Nov. 24 the dashcam video showing it took only 30 seconds from Officer Jason Van Dyke’s arrival on the scene to murder Laquan McDonald, shooting him 16 times in 14-15 seconds on Oct. 20, 2014. – Photo: Chicago Sun-Times

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez describes on Nov. 24 the dashcam video showing it took only 30 seconds from Officer Jason Van Dyke’s arrival on the scene to murder Laquan McDonald, shooting him 16 times in 14-15 seconds on Oct. 20, 2014. – Photo: Chicago Sun-Times

“We believe CPD officers have engaged in the systemic use of excessive force and carried out a pattern of discriminatory harassment against African American residents in the city,” Runner said. “Furthermore, they have been dishonest about those practices, in some cases even covering up illegal activity.”

CUL’s call comes one day after the city released dashcam video of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by CPD officer Jason Van Dyke.

“Chicago Urban League is demanding accountability from the Chicago Police Department,” Runner said. “There are too many African American citizens dying at the hands of rogue officers who are sworn to serve and protect them.”

Runner called on CPD to adopt consistent and fair practices that protect all the city’s residents, not just some. And when officers do violate the law, the response needs to be swift and severe, she said.

“Chicago Urban League is demanding accountability from the Chicago Police Department,” Runner said. “There are too many African American citizens dying at the hands of rogue officers who are sworn to serve and protect them.”

“The mixed-message of purported concern yet muted response – or even denial – we’ve seen from CPD’s top management highlights the lack of transparency and due process when it comes to officer-involved shootings,” Runner said. “It is imperative that the Department of Justice step in and correct this conduct before there is any more loss of life.”

This undated autopsy diagram provided by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office shows the location of wounds on the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot by a Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke 16 times in 2014. – Photo: AP

This undated autopsy diagram provided by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office shows the location of wounds on the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot by a Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke 16 times in 2014. – Photo: AP

McDonald was shot 16 times, many of those shots fired into the teenager’s back and while he was on the ground. The video clearly shows McDonald walking away from Officer Van Dyke, who was not in imminent danger. Yet it took more than 13 months – 400 days – to charge Van Dyke with murder.

“That’s too long for this to be called justice,” Runner said.

Earlier this week, CPD Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy flip-flopped, yet again, on the issue of whether to terminate Officer Dante Servin who fatally shot Rekia Boyd three years ago while off duty.

McCarthy has veered from saying Servin should never have been charged to this week recommending his termination following a recommendation from the Independent Police Review Board.

“That kind of inconsistency is breeding contempt in Chicago’s communities of color,” Runner said.

Therefore, the CUL is also calling for Chicago Superintendent of Police, Garry F. McCarthy to be fired and the resignation of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

“Accountability means just that, and change is warranted in what has clearly been a major miscarriage of justice,” Runner said.

CUL demands answers to the following questions:

  • What had CPD done about the more than 18 civilian complaints reportedly brought against Officer Van Dyke?
  • Why are there such long delays in charging CPD police officers in excessive force incidents?

Unconvinced that the Chicago Police Department can answer those questions on its own, CUL insists that a DOJ investigation is necessary.

“We encourage continued peaceful and responsible protests as we await the murder trial of Officer Van Dyke,” Runner said, “but we are also requesting that, in the meantime, the city, state and federal governments intervene to determine what went wrong here, and begin to institute reforms to return fairness and equity to our justice system. Justice should not be served only when it is politically expedient.”

The Chicago Urban League, dedicated to economic, educational and social progress for African Americans, can be reached via www.thechicagourbanleague.org, Facebook or Twitter.

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7 thoughts on “#LaquanMcDonald: As video released, cop charged with murder 1, activists demand Police Supt. McCarthy, State’s Attorney Alvarez resign

  1. Richard

    The Chicago police department protecting themselves while serving you up an ass kicking. Why oh why did the police officers who let this young man bleed to death in the streets like wounded slave not been charged with accessories to murder??? Atypical in America make the victim of a public police department execution responsible for his own victimization. He was not a saint so he deserved it!

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