Laquan McDonald case is not going away, but rather the movement for
justice for the Black teen, executed gangland style by a white
Chicago police officer, is growing. And now, Laquan’s
murder, captured by dashcam footage that was released last week,
stands to disrupt the administration of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and bring
down prominent city officials.
first casualty among high-level city officials is Chicago
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly
jettisoned McCarthy because the public had lost confidence in the
police. Activists and Black elected officials alike had called for
the police chief’s ouster for quite some time, due to his
inaction not only in the McDonald case, but his failure to swiftly
terminate Officer Dante Servin, who fatally shot Rekia Boyd, a
22-year old Black woman in 2012. This, combined with the recent
high-profile gang-related execution of Tyshawn Lee, 9, served as the
tipping point. Although McCarthy is gone, more heads are expected to
roll, if the community protesters have anything to do with it. The
community smells a cover up, from Emanuel’s efforts to hide the
case under the rug during his contentious reelection campaign, to the
$5 million settlement the city paid to the McDonald family
immediately after the election, to the one-year delay by the
prosecutor in charging the officer with murder.
story behind the story is the missing surveillance video from the
Burger King restaurant, located 50 yards away from the scene of the
fatal shooting. This, as federal authorities learn more about
the circumstances surrounding an apparent cover-up and an unfolding
case of official corruption and criminal wrongdoing. According to
WGN, the manager of the Burger King told a federal grand jury that
police erased the video. Ironically, the manager told reporters that
the officers were caught on the surveillance system deleting the
surveillance video in question. The FBI now has possession of
that video, as well as the video of the cops erasing the video,
according to the manager. When she announced the first degree
murder charges against officer Jason Van Dyke, State’s Attorney
Anita Alvarez insisted there was no evidence the video had been
deleted, a claim which Mayor Emanuel reinforced.
Saturday, following the shutdown of Black Friday by protesters on
Michigan Avenue, a group of activists circled Chicago City Hall
carrying a black casket in memory of Laquan McDonald and Tyshawn Lee,
as theChicago Sun-Times reported.
The purpose of the demonstration was to draw attention to the
mishandling of the case by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago Police Supt.
Garry McCarthy and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
On Friday, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle joined the
growing voices calling for McCarthy’s resignation.
McDonald’s blood is spilling all over City Hall,” said
Tio Hardiman, president of Violence Interrupters, at the protest as
the group chanted, “How many more must die?”
called for the removal of Emanuel, McCarthy and Alvarez due to their
treatment of cases involving police brutality and misconduct.
Hall is where [the casket] needs to be because this is where the
cover up took place,” Hardiman said, according to
“Stop killing in our community first. Own and operate the
businesses in our community first, then we won’t have to
added that only a united community will lead to resignations and an
end to bloodshed in the streets. “If there is no unity, we’re
going to keep killing each other.”
Jesse Jackson joined those who are calling for the resignation of
Alvarez and McCarthy. The veteran civil rights leader also
demanded the appointment of a special prosecutor in the Van Dyke
murder trial, as was reported by the Huffington
Post. Jackson added that he
wants a federal investigation into the Chicago police department in
order to change a culture of racial bias. He also called for a
White House conference on violence in urban cities, and innovation to
create opportunity for disenfranchised communities.
need bold comprehensive change in the police department and the
criminal justice system,” Jackson said at a news conference at
Rainbow PUSH headquarters. “Too much time for too little
1928 article in the Southeast Missourian, which features the
headline, “Chicago Police Department Is Called Rotten.”
despite attempts by city officials to paint Officer Van Dyke as an
outlier and a “bad apple,” the fact remains that the
Chicago police department has been dirty and rotten for decades.
As the Huffington
for nearly a century the department has been known for corruption,
conspiracy, torture, racism and the blue wall of silence, with a
blurring line between organized crime and local politicians. A
1928 headline from the Southeast
Police Department Is Called Rotten,” says it all.
utter disregard for the fulfillment of their duties by the police
department is appalling, and there is no question in the minds of the
members of this jury that the police department is rotten to the
core,” said Frank J. Loesch, anti-corruption reformer
and founder of the Chicago Crime Commission, of the Chicago police in
year, President Herbert Hoover’s Wickersham Commission found
there was a prevalence of police torture and interrogation tactics
known as the “third degree” in Chicago. Adults and
even juvenile suspects were beaten with objects ranging from phone
books to rubber hoses.
police cannot contain their glee as they remove the body of Fred
Hampton, leader of the Illinois Black Panther Party, who was
assassinated by Chicago police in December 1969.
conduct of Chicago police at the 1968 Democratic convention, during
which time officers removed their badges and walked into crowds on
Vietnam War protesters in order to beat them down, stands as proof
that the Chicago police only became worse over time. The
December 4, 1969 assassination of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton,
21, was an example of the depths of criminality the Chicago police
were able to reach. Fourteen officers were involved in the plot,
firing as many as 99 bullets into Hampton’s house, killing him
and Michael Clark, 22, a Panther leader from Peoria, Illinois. J.
Edgar Hoover’s FBI worked in secret with the CPD and the Cook
County State Attorney on the assassination.
Chicago police commander Jon Burge oversaw the abuse and torture of
about 100 Black men over three decades. Burge, who honed his
skills in Vietnam, beat, suffocated and used electric shock on his
victims. Many were wrongfully convicted, some men were sent to
death row. While the city has paid out more than half a billion
dollars to settle cases related to his torture, many victims are
still seeking justice. Burge served a 3 ½ year prison
sentence, and lives in Florida on a $4,000 monthly pension.
yet another case, in 2012 Rekia Boyd, 22, was killed by off-duty
detective Dante Servin. Servin fatally shot Boyd in the back of
the head following a verbal altercation, claiming he feared for his
life and that a man in Boyd’s group pointed a gun at him.
The “gun” turned out to be a cell phone. Boyd’s
family was awarded $4.5 million in a wrongful death suit but Servin
escaped conviction on a technicality and was cleared of involuntary
manslaughter charges because he was under-charged for the crime.
Dyke is the first Chicago officer in over 30 years to be indicted for
murder. If convicted, he would be the first on-duty Chicago cop
in modern times found guilty of first degree murder.