Members of the Progressive Caucus call for thorough examination of McDonald case
CHICAGO (November 25, 2015)--Chicago City Council Progressive Reform Caucus members Ald. Leslie Hairston (5); Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6); Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10); Ald. Toni Foulkes (16); Ald. David Moore (17); Ald. Ricardo Muñoz (22); Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29); Ald. Scott Waguespack (32); Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35) and Ald. John Arena (45) issued the following statement on Wednesday to respond to the video of a Chicago Police officer shooting teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times:
“We are mourning the violent death of one of our city’s young people, Laquan McDonald, and we are praying for his family.
“We call for a thorough examination of the apparent effort to withhold information about McDonald’s death as it moved through the administration of the Police Department. We are deeply committed to transparency and public accountability, and we urge all of our fellow public officials to recommit to upholding the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.
“We ask why this officer is still on the public payroll. In the 14 months since the killing of Laquan McDonald, Officer Van Dyke has continued to live comfortably, facing no criminal charges until yesterday, all while drawing a paycheck at the expense of the taxpayers of this city. This is unacceptable.
“We are concerned that the delay of justice in this case has served to undermine the hard work of the police officers in our districts, who now must face deep distrust from some residents.
“At the same time, peaceful protestors were arrested during last night’s response to the release of the video. These young people came out to march, chant and draw public attention to the death of McDonald. Several of the march organizers were arrested despite multiple witnesses who confirm that they broke no laws. While we were pleased to see that the charges against protester Malcolm London were dropped, we ask that the charges against the other protesters also be dropped immediately.
“Unlike those who protected Officer Van Dyke, these young people were acting in the spirit of stewardship of our city, peacefully assembling, participating in nonviolent civil disobedience, and demanding justice.
“We call upon the leadership of this city and its police force to convene an inclusive, empowered panel to investigate the entire minute-by-minute, hour-by-hour and day-by-day course of this apparent miscarriage of justice, which took the life of a young man and shielded his killer for more than a year.
“Furthermore, in order to revamp the institutional crisis of police discipline, we plan to convene a panel of experts to work with us on providing the City Council and people of this city a thorough change to the City code and regulations that oversee police officers, the Independent Police Review Authority, and the Police Board. We need to ensure that bureaucracy or union contracts don’t stop us from being able to remove bad police officers from the payroll. Changes must be made a priority in order to end the lack of effective and clear discipline practices and oversight that perpetuate these crimes.
“The public demands answers. We have a right to know, in order to put in place new policies and regulations to be applied in any future instance of misconduct.”