FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

It’s Time for Answers in Laquan McDonald Case

by

There will be no justice for Laquan McDonald. He is dead, shot 16 times point blank by a Chicago police officer. Now, after over a year, after a dashboard camera video was released by judicial order, the police officer who shot him has been charged with murder. But this is only a first step. For Chicago to heal, many unanswered questions and many unmet problems must be addressed. Disciplined, nonviolent protests have demanded answers. Now it is time for action.

This is not simply a case of one bad cop. Nine police officers were on the scene, yet not one reported the police violence. Instead, a police union spokesman alleged that McDonald lunged at the police with a knife. That false statement went unchallenged. Why?

Witnesses were on the scene. But according to various accounts, the police shooed them away without collecting names and questioning them. Why?

The audio from the dashboard camera was indecipherable — as was that of four other dashboard cameras at the scene. According to a district manager, the relevant portion of a video from the security camera of a nearby Burger King went missing after the police were given access to it. Why?

The city fought to conceal the video, contesting Freedom of Information Act lawsuits by independent journalists, by the Wall Street Journal and by the Chicago Tribune. Yet the mayor pushed the City Council to vote a $5 million settlement for the McDonald family before they had even filed a lawsuit. The settlement apparently included an agreement to keep the video secret. Why?

The contrast with last summer’s Cincinnati case could not be more stark. When Samuel DuBose was fatally shot on camera by a University of Cincinnati police officer during a routine traffic stop, the video contradicted the officer’s claim that he had been dragged along the street by DuBose’s car. The video was released, and the officer was charged with murder and fired in less than two weeks. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez brought charges only after a court ordered the release of the video, after an investigation taking more than 13 months. Why?

The mayor says this was the act of one bad police officer who will now face a jury of his peers. The tape shows us who did the shooting. But the question is who contributed to what looks inescapably like a concerted cover-up.

This can’t be business as usual. If Chicago is to heal, the truth must come out. The protests have made three basic and sensible demands. First, appoint an independent special prosecutor to insure a fair prosecution. Second, the federal investigation should probe not only the shooting of Laquan McDonald but also what appears to be the effort to cover it up. Those implicated from top to bottom should be held accountable.

Third, we need a new police chief and a new police culture. New leadership and comprehensive reform are vital if trust is to be rebuilt.

These are essential and inescapable. Real healing requires even more. We must move from reform to reconstruction. We need a national commission on urban reconstruction. We cannot expect police to provide security in oceans of despair. We need action on housing, schools and jobs. If Chicago is to heal, the police must regain our trust, and the people must regain some hope.

More articles by:

Jesse Jackson is the founder of Rainbow/PUSH.

February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail