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With a name like Laquan, we can safely assume his Blackness. Of middling height, perhaps ‘5, 2”, with a weight of 130 lbs., Laquan bounces down a Chicago avenue with typical teenage abandon.
He seems more like he’s skipping than running, his right hand holding a pen-knife of some 3” or so. One can almost feel the buzz of youthful testosterone rushing through his veins. A subterranean river of strength assuring him that he is invincible, that he can punch through walls, get hit with a mountain and rise.
And then, without warning, a shot rings out, and it spins him like a top, 360º.
He falls, and unfamiliar pain grips him, curling him, folding him into a fetal position cradled by the cold earth. Then, like heartbeats, come death beats of bullets, and 17 year old Laquan McDonald is no more.
He is but the latest Black body blasted into oblivion by a white Klansman in blue.
His once unknown name joins a chorus of the dead: Tamir Rice, Mike Brown, Donald ‘Dontay’ Ivy, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, Freddie Gray – and more: victims all of one of the oldest maladies on the American mainland” white fear, a 3 inch blade (legal by the way) and 16 shots burned into the body of a teenager.
For a year, the cameras go dark, until a free-lance journalist fights, and wins, a freedom of information suit against the City. The camera replays that savage moment, of a boy skipping his way into death.
There has been an arrest, yes; but don’t be surprised by an acquittal.
Any city that can make a murder disappear for a year, can surely hustle up an acquittal.
Only sustained struggle can make a difference.
Mumia Abu-Jamal is the author of Writing on the Wall.