Chicago is begging for Justice for Laquan McDonald. Chicago police are begging for peace, before the release of a dashcam video that may bring justice and shed light on this particularly dark case. Laquan McDonald was an African American seventeen year old living in Chicago. Illinois. And it’s sad that you probably know what’s going to be said next.
Laquan McDonald was shot sixteen times by a white police officer named Jason Van Dyke. According to a police union spokesman, Laquan was shot and killed for brandishing a knife. The police officer asked Laquan to drop the knife, and when he did not. he shot Laquan, out of fear for his life, sixteen times repeatedly. He continued to open fire even after Laquan had dropped to the ground. The entirety of the event was captured on the police car dashcam. For months the city of Chicago has fought against the release of this vital piece of evidence, in fear that having it released to the public would “jeopardize the investigation”. Similarly to how say, having all the correct answers for your History final could jeopardize your chances of getting an F.
However the judge has issued that the video must be released by November 25th. And in reaction to this video that is “Graphic, disturbing, and difficult to watch” Chicago police are asking ahead of time, for everyone to take it lightly. They fear that since the officer who killed Laquan is still working for the police department and not facing charges, they could face serious backlash. Backlash, like those of the events in Ferguson, Missouri. But in trying to deflate an impending situation, many believe the Chicago Police Department may have made matters worse for themselves.
The Chicago PD have already made matters difficult by fighting to keep the video private for months. By preemptively trying to tranquilize this issue, they may find themselves in a deeper hole. Saying the video is “graphic… as many video of a man being shot to death would be” and not pressing charges against the man who killed Laquan, saying, “He knows in his heart of hearts that his actions were appropriate” may not be the best move. It’s like saying, “Hey before I show you this portrait I painted of you, try not to begin crying and punching me in the face.”
It makes no sense for the Chicago PD’s spokesperson and attorney to have repeatedly and simultaneously called the act gruesome and acceptable. The dichotomy of this issue makes matters so much worse. The Chicago PD constantly claimed the video was too horrific to even been shown to the public yet not bad enough that they should take Jason Van Dyke off duty. And with this new ultimatum set by the judge they’re now caught in this mad dash. Not to apologize for withholding information from the public. Not to apologize for killing another teenage boy who could have still been alive today. But almost to say, “Hey, take it easy. We know this video is horrific. But let’s not react to this information as strongly as Van Dyke did, or else you’re just as bad as us. Although, we’re not that bad.” How can you justify a killing that you claim is too brutal to be seen? Nor should they immediately follow it up with, “But that four inch knife was wildly dangerous, and Jason has two kids to worry about.”
Because Laquan McDonald actually was a kid. The Chicago PD should be the adults in the situation, punish the adult man who killed him ruthlessly, and not call people who are upset by this “unjustified”. What is unjustified is that a young man living in one of the country’s most dangerous cities was killed by the one man whose job it was to protect him. All we can hope is there is justice for Laquan, and peace for Chicago soon.