CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—November 24, 2015
By: Frank Chapman, Field Organizer, Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression
On October 20, 2014, 17 year old Laquan McDonald was murdered (shot 16 times) by Chicago police officer Craig Van Dyke. A police car dashboard camera video-recorded the shooting. After Chicago city officials saw the video they decided to give the McDonald family $5 million before a lawsuit was even filed. The video recording has been viewed by McDonald’s family and the attorneys on all sides. The video reportedly shows Laquan McDonald walking away from Van Dyke when he was shot, and the shooting continued even after he fell to the ground. All agree that it is graphic and quite disturbing. Some would justify keeping the recording under wraps because its release might cause civil unrest. The Chicago Alliance would suggest that this is precisely what is needed – non-violent civil unrest – to stop police crimes and bring police criminals to justice. It appears that this is the only thing that can bring even a chance of justice.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the chief executive of this City, is sworn to “support the Constitution of the United States.” He violated that oath when he opposed the release of this recording of the murder of McDonald by a Chicago Police officer. His statement that the release might impede the ongoing investigation rings hollow. How long does it take to arrest a murderer whose crime is video recorded by the police? The mayor is simply excusing the denial of justice. Even more disturbing is the fact that this Mayor is spending millions to cover up police crimes while trying to satisfy McDonald’s family and other families of police murder victims by paying them millions too.
This administration and city officials are dedicated to covering up police crimes and corruption and have abandoned altogether the pursuit of justice when it comes to Black and Brown people being murdered by the police. We reject the narrative in the media that violence by community members should be the focus of our conversations and concern. Righteous angry reactions are not the enemy. The subject must be what the administration is going to do about systemic violence that causes these reactions.
A number of news media have contacted us about this case. In fact, we have never talked to the media this much about a single case. They want to know how we stand on releasing the video since it may cause a violent uprising.
The Alliance is not organizing a violent uprising, but city officials and the Mayor are by rationalizing and justifying police violence and murder against civilians. That is why the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is currently gearing up for a “riot” because they know the Mayor and his appointed Police Board have no intentions of bringing Officer Van Dyke to justice. In fact, he hasn’t even been suspended. He has a desk job with the CPD at full salary.
The video will be released in a few days. Chief McCarthy has been going around the neighborhoods assuring small business owners that he will protect them if civil unrest erupts. We reject the attempt to characterize the people’s righteousness as violent. The police are the source of the violence.
Our movement will continue to organize peaceful, non-violent protests demanding that Officer Van Dyke be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, that Dante Servin be fired and federally prosecuted and that the video-recordings of the murder of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson be released. We will also continue to mobilize and organize for December 10, 2015, International Human Rights Day, when we will protest and demonstrate at the Federal Building against the U. S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and demand that the U. S. Attorney enforce the law in Chicago.
The DOJ has been investigating the police murder of Flint Farmer for five years, and we haven’t heard a whisper. They continue to stand mute on the torture of Black and Brown people here in Chicago. They have not closed the torture site at Homan Square, where thousands have been reputedly detained and tortured. If they don’t want us to be outraged and angry, then they need to prosecute and jail these killer cops and those cops who torture people.
Let us take the righteous anger of the people and channel it into building the most powerful, militant grass roots movement Chicago and this nation have ever seen for an all elected all Civilian Police Accountability Council. The Alliance has proposed just such an ordinance implementing this demand. It can be viewed by all at: