It was my initial goal to keep all posts centered on travel-related topics; however, some things just weigh too heavy on my heart to not write about them. So let’s change gears a bit, shall we?
Thirteen months after the police shooting death of Laquan McDonald, an officer’s dashcam video capturing the event was finally released to the public. If you haven’t heard anything about it, or prefer not to watch the video, please read more in the official legal documents here.
In short, a 17 year-old, African-American male was shot 16 times in 15 seconds by one white police officer who claimed to have done so in self-defense. The officer, whose name doesn’t deserve to be mentioned on this blog, reported that Laquan was advancing on him while waving a knife in such a manner that caused him to fear for his life. He also claimed that even after the initial shots, Laquan continued to be a threat as he bled on the ground, requiring the officer to continue shooting until all movement ceased.
To nobody’s surprise, the dashcam footage contradicted the report as it was written. In fact, there were significant discrepancies, one being that Laquan McDonald was not seen advancing the officer. Instead, he was clearly headed the opposite direction. Another disturbing fact is that only 2 of the 16 shots can be definitively linked to the time McDonald was standing. That means this officer likely fired 14 bullets into Laquan’s already incapacitated, defenseless, and therefore THREATLESS body.
The salt being rubbed into the open wound, however, is the massive cover-up that ensued. The report which claimed the officer acted in self-defense had to be corroborated by the eight other officers on the scene. That means not one of those officers had the courage to tell the truth, or worse, any other conflicting stories were intentionally ignored. Even more damning, surveillance footage capturing the event at a nearby Burger King had an inexplicable 86-minute gap after being “looked at” by police. Poetic justice? There’s video footage capturing the police officers deleting the 86 minutes of video footage.
State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez took more than a year to press charges against the accused officer, conveniently enough, only after the release of the video. Meanwhile, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Chief of Detectives Gary McCarthy fought tooth and nail to have the dashcam video (read: truth) kept from the public indefinitely. It was only after the nationwide outcry that Mr. Emanuel gave a formal apology for the mishandling of the case, and consequentially dismissed Gary McCarthy from his position.
Chicago is still not pleased.
Rahm Emanuel, you cannot make a scapegoat out of Gary McCarthy while trying to minimize your own culpability in this ordeal. You are just as accountable, if not by active contribution then by passive reinforcement.
Beyond this case, you have proven yourself an inept representative for the entire population of Chicago. Your actions as Mayor have disproportionately hurt the African-American and Latino communities, further perpetuating the underlying stratification, segregation, and racism in this wonderful city. How much longer will Chicago’s South/Westside be deprived of resources and economic development? How many more public schools need to be closed? How many more tax hikes will you place on the backs of the public? How many more coverups have you been involved in or aware of? Is this what is means to be protected and served? Are your actions truly for the good of ALL people?
The answer is no.
The pictures on this post are Chicagoans UNITED – a myriad of all colors, ages, religions, incomes, and neighborhoods, protesting for the EQUALITY OF JUSTICE FOR ALL CITIZENS and therefore, Rahm Emanuel, your resignation.