For Laquan McDonald and All Victims of Police Brutality, We Have to Win

Protesters shut down a Chicago highway last night during protests for Laquan McDonald. (photo: Aaron Cynic/Twitter)
Protesters shut down a Chicago highway last night during protests for Laquan McDonald. (photo: Aaron Cynic/Twitter)


Katelyn Johnson | In These Times | Reader Supported News | November 29, 2015


If the progressive movement can’t organize itself to fight back against racism and injustice in Chicago and around the country, police murders like those of Laquan McDonald, Freddie Gray and Rekia Boyd will never stop.


here is no ache more profound as the experience of losing a loved one, so my heart goes out to LaQuan McDonald’s family. This young man is more than a symbol of a violent and morally bankrupt system—he was someone’s child. So, let my first words be words of love and condolences of his family.

Sixteen shots. Four hundred some-odd days. Countless tears and empty promises. Laquan was murdered by the state. And we have to recognize that this moment is not an isolated incident—not in Chicago and not in America. Anyone who believes that Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy, Mayor Rahm Emanuel or State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez care at all for this boy is deluded and disconnected from the realities our black communities face. These three have no concept of truth. They can’t handle the burden of admitting that they have failed in their most sacred duty, to protect and serve, and instead have become symbols of oppression, corruption and racism. Their pretty words are full of poison, and their villainous record speaks louder than any press conference. They never loved us, and they never will.

While this city erupted in pain and protest, Mayor Emanuel was at a Christmas tree lighting ceremony, keeping up the charade that everything is just fine in Chicago. Alvarez’ office waited over a year to charge Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot McDonald, until a dogged journalist pried the dash cam video out of the department’s hands and forced them to release it to the public. And we all know her office let officer Dante Servin get away with 22-year-old Rekia Boyd’s 2012 murder for as long as they could get away with it. McCarthy’s blue wall of silence has Alvarez’s office on one side and city hall on the other. None of them can be trusted, and none of them should be able to keep their jobs.

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