Officers Acquitted in Laquan McDonald Case

Tuesday, a Chicago judge acquitted three police officers accused of covering up the murder of then 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

The judge’s ruling comes despite major discrepancies between the three officers’ reports as well as dash cam footage that contradicts police claims that McDonald was approaching them aggressively at the time he was shot.

White police officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald, who was black, 16 times and was convicted of second-degree murder in October last year.

The ruling also comes just days before Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and a planned march to retake his radical legacy promoting justice and equality for all.

In Chicago, a Unity Breakfast was held today to honor King’s memory, but it was largely boycotted by a host of community members, activists, and members of the religious community in protest of the judge’s decision.

“As we’re here at a celebration about how far we’ve come, we seem to have not come far at all. We’re extremely disappointed in this type of verdict that goes on not just here, but throughout the country, where young black boys are getting shot in the streets and officers are walking way, celebrating.”  — Alderman Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward

Judge Domenica Stephenson ruled that the state did not meet the burden of proof, that there was no evidence of conspiracy, and that the state’s witness was unreliable.

Chicago’s aldermen, however, say that the decision was rooted in racism.

“To have a judge to come up with a verdict such as she has done. To say, ‘OK, willy nilly, just kill any black person that you see and we will let you off.’ We are enraged.”  — Alderman Carrie Austin, 34th Ward

Van Dyke, who was sentenced today, is the first officer in Chicago to stand trial for murder while on duty in 50 years.

Click here to read our reporting on Van Dyke’s conviction.


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