"Thanks to clear video evidence, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged this week with first-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Nevertheless, thousands of people took to the city’s streets on Friday in protest. And that is as it should be.
The needlessness of the killing is clear and unambiguous:
Yet that dash-cam footage was suppressed for more than a year by authorities citing an investigation. “There was no mystery, no dead-end leads to pursue, no ambiguity about who fired the shots,” Eric Zorn wrote in The Chicago Tribune. “Who was pursuing justice and the truth? What were they doing? Who were they talking to? With whom were they meeting? What were they trying to figure out for 400 days?”
There is no doubt that Officer Van Dyke acted badly. As he faces murder charges, there remains a need to demand accountability for the Chicagoans complicit in the injustice he perpetrated.
Protestors want accountability for investigators whose inexplicable slowness allowed Van Dyke to remain on desk detail and to collect a paycheck from taxpayers. And the civic derelictions of duty run even deeper. They implicate Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the city council, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, rank-and-file cops, Pat Camden, who leads Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, and members of the press who credulously report police-union talking points.
All played a part in a corrupt status quo. Until it is reformed, more Chicagoans will die needlessly at the hands of police."