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Chicago protest demands federal charges against killer cop Jason Van Dyke

By Joe Iosbaker |
February 4, 2022
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Chicago protest demands justice for Laquan McDonald.
Chicago protest demands justice for Laquan McDonald. (Merawi Gerima)

Chicago, IL - A delegation of activists demanding Justice for Laquan McDonald met with an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago’s Federal Building. They presented a letter signed by 38 organizations and unions, as well as five elected officials, demanding federal charges against killer cop Jason Van Dyke.

A statement released before the protest explained, “VanDyke was given a ‘slap on the wrist’ by the Cook County Criminal Court after being convicted of McDonald’s murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault and is being released from prison after less than 3 1/2 years, when Black and brown and other working-class Chicagoans are given sentences up to life in prison without possibility of parole for crimes far less serious.”

The delegation included Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression CAARPR), Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, and Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina’s Church.

The delegation also presented copies of 49 complaints filed with the U.S. Attorney’s office in 2016 from families that had their loved ones killed or brutalized and tortured by the Chicago Police Department. To date, no meaningful action from the DOJ have been taken to deliver justice for these families.

The demand for charges has the support from the national president of the NAACP, Derrick Johnson, as well as the two U.S. senators from Illinois, Richard Durbin and Tammy Duckworth. In the recent past, federal charges were brought against the three accomplice cops involved with the murder of George Floyd, and the three white vigilantes who killed Ahmaud Arbery.

Nine protesters were arrested inside the federal building and charged with misdemeanor civil contempt, including William Calloway, a community activist who was involved in winning the release of the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald in 2015; the uncle of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by a cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin in 2020; and Ja’Mal Green, community activist. Also arrested was Kina Collins, community activist and candidate for Congress. Laquan’s grandmother, Tracie Hunter, was with the group that was arrested; however, she was not charged.

A crowd of about 100 protested outside the building . Chicago police officers displayed their typical vicious treatment of the Black Lives Matter movement. Shasta Jones of CAARPR was at the protest and said, “A cop threatened to sic a huge German shepherd dog on me and an older Black woman.” According to Jones, the cop said, “I’ll let this fucking dog go if you don’t move!” The dog growled, and Shasta and others around her had to run into traffic to get away.