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NAACP calls for federal charges in fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald

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The NAACP on Tuesday sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland urging him to file federal civil rights charges against the white Chicago police officer who fatally shot Black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Former officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to six years and nine months after his conviction in October 2018 for the killing of McDonald, who was 17 at the time. Van Dyke is set to be released from prison on Thursday after serving less than half of his prison sentence.

In the letter, NAACP President Derrick Johnson urged Garland to “provide your commitment to move forward with appropriate and applicable federal charges based on the Federal Grand Jury findings and other relevant evidence,” in the letter obtained by The Hill.

“Given the egregious nature of his crime, the NAACP believes that at a minimum, the murderous officer should be charged with a federal civil rights violation under Title 18, U.S.C., Section 242 — Deprivation of Rights Under Color of Law,” Johnson added.

He added that over its 113-year history, the organization has “seen unfair and inequitable favor given to law enforcement officers who unjustly take the lives of members of the Black community and have fought fervently in opposition to such favor.”

McDonald’s family has pushed for federal charges to be filed against Van Dyke.

“I just want justice, the right justice,” McDonald’s grandmother Tracie Hunter said last week. 

“I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until this man does his rightful time,” Hunter also said, adding that the time served by the former officer was “a slap on the wrist.” 

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment. 

McDonald died after he was shot 16 times by Van Dyke. 

The shooting was followed by a Justice Department investigation into the Chicago Police Department, which found that the department routinely used excessive force and violated citizens’ rights, especially among minority groups. 

Tags Jason Van Dyke Laquan McDonald Merrick Garland NAACP
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