Community Hasn’t Forgotten Laquan McDonald: Activists, Family

(CBS) – Three years ago, a Chicago police officer fatally shot 17-year old Laquan McDonald.

It sparked national outrage and a call for reorganization in the Chicago Police Department.

CBS 2’s Audrina Bigos sat down with McDonald’s family as a demonstration marked the third anniversary of the teen’s death.

For the third year in a row, they’re calling this Laquan Day. Like protesters, Pastor Marvin Hunter – McDonald’s great uncle – says the death is not forgotten.

He adds that the community is watching as a murder trial ramps up for Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald during a 2014 encounter.

“Jason Van Dyke should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law for the crime that he committed. This is clearly murder,” Hunter says. “If we’re going to make changes in the criminal justice system, then it shouldn’t this long to get to trial.”

Now-familiar dashcam video shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times. Its release prompted public demonstrations and political fallout, including the firing of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy.

In addition to six counts of first-degree murder and one count of misconduct, Van Dyke is also charged with 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each shot fired at McDonald.

“I don’t think all police officers are bad, but I do believe that this guy is not good for the job that that he had; and others that are protecting him, and think and feel like him should not be on the force, because we hire them to serve and protect. They should not be judge, jury, and executioner,” Hunter said.

The anniversary demonstration continues on Friday, with a community town hall discussion at Progressive Baptist Church, to discuss police accountability and reform.

A federal investigation by the Justice Department after McDonald’s death found systemic abuses by the Chicago Police Department, finding officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities.

The department has since updated its use of force policy, and has replaced the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates allegations of police misconduct, with a new agency called the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. The department also has increased community outreach over the past two years.

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