FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

It’s Time for Answers in Laquan McDonald Case

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.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
July 22, 2019
Michael Hudson
U.S. Economic Warfare and Likely Foreign Defenses
Evaggelos Vallianatos
If Japan Continues Slaughtering Whales, Boycott the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Mike Garrity
Emergency Alert For the Wild Rockies
Dean Baker
The U.S.-China Trade War: Will Workers Lose?
Jonah Raskin
Paul Krassner, 1932-2019: American Satirist 
David Swanson
U.S. Troops Back in Saudi Arabia: What Could Go Wrong?
Robert Fisk
American Visitors to the Gestapo Museum Draw Their Own Conclusions
John Feffer
Trump’s Send-Them-Back Doctrine
Kenn Orphan – Phil Rockstroh
Landscape of Anguish and Palliatives: Predation, Addiction and LOL Emoticons in the Age of Late Stage Capitalism
Karl Grossman
A Farmworkers Bill of Rights
Gary Leupp
Omar and Trump
Robert Koehler
Fighting Climate Change Means Ending War
Susie Day
Mexicans Invade US, Trump Forced to Go Without Toothbrush
Elliot Sperber
Hey Diddle Diddle, Like Nero We Fiddle
Weekend Edition
July 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Rob Urie
The Blob Fought the Squad, and the Squad Won
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
It Was Never Just About the Chat: Ruminations on a Puerto Rican Revolution.
Anthony DiMaggio
System Capture 2020: The Role of the Upper-Class in Shaping Democratic Primary Politics
Andrew Levine
South Carolina Speaks for Whom?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Big Man, Pig Man
Bruce E. Levine
The Groundbreaking Public Health Study That Should Change U.S. Society—But Won’t
Evaggelos Vallianatos
How the Trump Administration is Eviscerating the Federal Government
Pete Dolack
All Seemed Possible When the Sandinistas Took Power 40 years Ago
Ramzy Baroud
Who Killed Oscar and Valeria: The Inconvenient History of the Refugee Crisis
Ron Jacobs
Dancing with Dr. Benway
Joseph Natoli
Gaming the Climate
Marshall Auerback
The Numbers are In, and Trump’s Tax Cuts are a Bust
Louisa Willcox
Wild Thoughts About the Wild Gallatin
Kenn Orphan
Stranger Things, Stranger Times
Mike Garrity
Environmentalists and Wilderness are Not the Timber Industry’s Big Problem
Helen Yaffe
Cuban Workers Celebrate Salary Rise From New Economic Measures
Brian Cloughley
What You Don’t Want to be in Trump’s America
David Underhill
The Inequality of Equal Pay
David Macaray
Adventures in Script-Writing
David Rosen
Say Goodbye to MAD, But Remember the Fight for Free Expression
Nick Pemberton
This Is Heaven!: A Journey to the Pearly Gates with Chuck Mertz
Dan Bacher
Chevron’s Oil Spill Endangers Kern County
J.P. Linstroth
A Racist President and Racial Trauma
Binoy Kampmark
Spying on Julian Assange
Rose Ramirez – Dedrick Asante-Mohammad
A Trump Plan to Throw 50,000 Kids Out of Their Schools
David Bravo
Precinct or Neighborhood? How Barcelona Keeps Rolling Out the Red Carpet for Global Capital
Ralph Nader
Will Any Disgusted Republicans Challenge Trump in the Primaries?
Dave Lindorff
The BS about Medicare-for-All Has to Stop!
Arnold August
Why the Canadian Government is Bullying Venezuela
Tom Clifford
China and the Swine Flu Outbreak
Missy Comley Beattie
Highest Anxiety
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail