Chicago Teen’s Shooting Indicates Cover-up
Posted by Steve Markowitz on November 27, 2015
One year ago 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an African-American, was shot and killed by police officer Jason Van Dyke. Last week Van Dyke was charged with murdering McDonald. Given the video released by the city of Chicago during the same week Van Dyke was charged, there is little question as to the justification for the charges. The timing of the charges and other issues that indicate a cover up ans.
Immediately preceding the shooting, Laquan McDonald was being chased by Chicago police after they received reports of someone vandalizing automobiles in the area. One video shows McDonald running from the police carrying a small knife. Another video shows Van Dyke exiting his vehicle and shooting McDonald who was walking away from the police. The first shot took McDonald down and then Van Dyke emptied his clip shooting the victim another 15 times. There is no justification for Van Dyke’s actions.
The facts behind the McDonald shooting captured in the video are troubling enough. However, what happened since is also very problematic. First, the police department’s dash-cam video was not released for one year after the shooting and then only after a legal foundation took the Chicago PD to court to obtain its release. In addition, civilian video taken at a nearby Burger King was reportedly tampered with by the police the evening of the shooting. Finally, there were approximately a half a dozen other police officers on scene who witnessed the shooting, but did not participate in it. Their code of silence is inexcusable.
Justice must be served for Laquan McDonald and the charges leveled against Jason Van Dyke is a good start. However, the delay in making the charges, as well as the police department’s attempt to bury the video and cover up facts behind the shooting, are also inexcusable. Police officers who witnessed the shooting and did not come forward should be held culpable. In addition, those in the police department and the City who were in any way involved in a cover-up need to be made accountable.
Chicago’s corruption and tainted politics have been the subjects of national jokes for too long. The city that made famous: “vote early and vote often” needs to be cleaned up. Unfortunately given the power of the entrenched Chicago political machine, realistic cleansing is unlikely.
President Barack Obama has shown a willingness to step into local police matters on various occasions throughout his presidency. The corruption in Chicago is one issue this President should use his bully pulpit to address. However, given his close association with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other Democratic ward politicians, such a response by Obama is unlikely.