Hundreds of protesters rally against US police brutality in Chicago

October 21, 2016 6:30 pm

Reverend Gregory Livingston speaks to a group outside police headquarters in on October 20, 2016. (Photo by Tribune)

Hundreds of protesters have gathered outside police headquarters in the US city of Chicago to stage a rally against police brutality in the country.
On Thursday evening, some 300 protesters and activists held banners and chanted slogans, calling for an end to the police high-handedness in the , a move that coincided with the second anniversary of Laquan McDonald’ death, a 17-year-old African-American who was fatally shot by the police 16 times.
“It’s important to talk about because the system has created injustice for its people. If we don’t voice how we feel and just lay down with blinders on, it will not change. I don’t want to see another child dead on the streets. It doesn’t matter, black brown, white, we are all one,” a protester said.

Protesters rally outside police headquarters in Chicago on October 20, 2016, marking the second anniversary of the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. (Photo by Chicago Tribune)

The participants in the rally also demanded the passage of a proposed bill that would provide a mechanism to recall certain officials who are accused of covering up crimes and violating the law.
The proposed Laquan McDonald Act, named after the black teenager who was shot and killed by officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014, allows voters to recall some elected officials, including the mayor, from their posts through a petition system.
“We just want to hold our elected officials accountable, we want to hold the police accountable and we definitely want to hold our community accountable,” an activist protester said.

In this frame from dash-cam video Laquan McDonald falls to the ground after being shot by officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago, October 20, 2014.

The footage of McDonald’s death was not released until over a year later, sparking widespread protests and revealing an entrenched “code of silence” among officers who had lied about the incident in an effort to cover it up.  
Chicago officials had feared for months that the release of the video could prompt protests that caused unrest in Baltimore and Ferguson after unarmed black men were shot by police or died in police custody.
Protesters at the time called for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, saying he had been complicit in the cover-up of the murder of the black teenager.
The public outrage over the incident led to a federal civil rights probe of the city’s police department. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder and is now on unpaid leave, awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty. Ten other officers were also accused of covering up his crime.
After the Thursday protest, Emanuel issued a statement saying, McDonald’s “death was a wake-up call for our city on an issue that has challenged the city for decades, and brought a renewed commitment to a public conversation about policing and community relations.”
The case marks the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty killing in almost 36 years.
Fatal shootings and other forms of violence by the US police against people of color have sparked protests across the US in recent years.
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