Photos Of The Chicago Protests Make It Clear Laquan McDonald's Death Isn't Just Going To Blow Over
On Tuesday, Chicago police released dash-cam video footage of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in the moments leading up to his death. In the footage, McDonald can be seen running, then walking down a mostly empty street on the southwest side of Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune. He seems to kind of turn toward police cars, but then appears to be walking away from them when he is shot. The footage was called "disturbing" by President Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter protestors, who say McDonald's death is the latest example of a white police officer's disproportionate use of force against a black person. Photos of protestors in Chicago's streets Wednesday night make it clear that McDonald's death won't blow over without serious resistance.
The video was released just hours after Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and held without bond, according to the Tribune. Prosecutors argued that the video clearly shows that McDonald did not charge Van Dyke, which is what Van Dyke's lawyers have claimed, according to CNN. Van Dyke's lawyers say the teen was wielding a knife, that he charged at Van Dyke, and that he was on hallucinogenic drugs, so Van Dyke acted in self defense, according to CNN. Further, the video shows McDonald falling to the ground shortly after Van Dyke's first few shots, which is disturbing given evidence that Van Dyke fired a total of 16 shots in 15 seconds, according to CNN.
Protesters reacting to the video and Van Dyke's charges held signs asking for justice for McDonald. Others said they were gathered because they wanted their hometown — Chicago — to be a safe place for people of color. Photos of protestors show that they won't rest until McDonald's family gets justice and their city is safer.
The incident between McDonald and Van Dyke occurred in October 2014, causing some protestors to demand to know why police just now released the dash-cam footage, according to CNN. Further, Van Dyke has been reported before for things like verbal abuse and excessive use of force, according to CNN. Some protesters held signs calling for Superintendent Garry McCarthy, among other Chicago officials, to resign.
McCarthy said Tuesday that, though he understands how disturbing the dash-cam footage is, people should try to remain calm throughout their protests, according to the Tribune:
The officer in this case took a young man's life, and he's going to have to account for his actions. People have a right to be angry, people have a right to protest. ... We are not predicting doom and gloom. We are predicting protests.
Five protestors were arrested Wednesday night, but the protests were mostly peaceful, according to USA Today. Some protestors, such as Lamon Reccord, 16, confronted police by standing inches away from them. Reccord told USA Today that he wanted the officers to "recognize just because they have a badge it doesn't mean I'm someone they can treat" like dirt.
Other protestors, like Jay Travis, who has lived in the south side of Chicago for 43 years, told CNN that disproportionate use of force against black people by white officers has been a problem for far too long:
So we're out here for love of our city. We're out here pushing for change.