State Watch

Laquan McDonald’s family pushes for federal charges against officer ahead of early release

The family of Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager who was killed in a 2014 police shooting, pushed for federal charges to be filed against the former Chicago Police Department officer convicted in the killing ahead of his expected release from prison, The Chicago Tribune reported

In a news conference Thursday, McDonald’s grandmother Tracie Hunter called the time served by former officer Jason Van Dyke “a slap on the wrist.” 

“I just want justice, the right justice,” Hunter said at the news conference. “I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until this man does his rightful time.”

Van Dyke, 43, is expected to be released from prison on Feb. 3 after serving three years of a six-year prison sentence for the death of McDonald, according to the Tribune.

Van Dyke was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, one count for each round he fired at McDonald. 

Dashcam video of the shooting showed McDonald walking away from officers and getting about 15 feet away before Van Dyke opened fire. The teen was shot 16 times.

St. Sabina Church Rev. Michael Pfleger said he wants city residents to rise up and speak out in response to Van Dyke’s expected release, the Tribune reported. 

“This is not a Black issue,” Pfleger said. “Everyone who believes in justice should be shouting and screaming that Jason Van Dyke should not be getting out of jail.”

Rahm Emanuel (D), who was the mayor of Chicago at the time of the shooting, has faced sharp criticism over his handling of the incident.

In August, President Biden nominated Emanuel to serve as the ambassador to Japan. The nomination met with backlash from progressive lawmakers and activists, with Reps. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) and Mondaire Jones (D-N.Y.) saying Emanuel helped “helped cover up the brutal murder” of McDonald.

Tags Chicago Cori Bush Illinios Joe Biden Laquan McDonald Mondaire Jones Murder of Laquan McDonald Rahm Emanuel
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