CHICAGO (CBS) — The family of Laquan McDonald spoke to media following the announcement of the Van Dyke verdict Friday afternoon at Grace Memorial Church, saying the verdict “was a victory for everyone.”
A Cook County jury convicted Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one count for each time he shot Laquan McDonald — and acquitted him of one count of official misconduct in the fatal shooting nearly four years ago.
Rev. Marvin Hunter, the great uncle of Laquan McDonald, thanked activists, pastors, the jury, extended family and prosecutors involved in the case for their support over the past four years.
“I’m thanking God for our family. This is not just a victory for the Hunter family. This is a victory for families all across the country,” he said.
He claimed he was in communication with several African American affirmative action lawyers and civil rights activists, all who said that it would be “impossible to have a police officer convicted in the county of Cook in the city of Chicago for doing anything to a black person.”
Hunter stated he continued to believe that justice would be served for his great nephew and ensured the Hunter family had the opportunity to review every police tape from the fatal shooting.
“We must get to a place in this country where we love people and use things, and not where we love things and use people,” he said. “This family wanted justice, because revenge belongs to God, and it’s God’s alone, and we don’t get to share in that.”
Hunter went on to claim that the verdict “is a victory for America,” stating it was “America that was on trial, so this is a victory for everyone.”
He thanked activists that took to the streets of Chicago to celebrate the victory, but said marching is not enough; encouraging Americans to use their voice at the polls.
“When the verdict came down, I’m a preacher, but I’m a human being. I can’t rejoice in a way to say ‘yippie oh cay-ay’ because this man is going to jail. When I looked over and saw his wife, my mind went to his daughter – to his wife and daughters – who did not pull the trigger. I could see the pain in those people. It was touching my heart to see their pain. But it was also bothering me that they couldn’t see the pain that was within us. They never really gave their condolences. At the end of the day, I can say that I did feel compassion for that man. And I’m saying to you, Chicago and America, let us begin to heal. Let us heal and become motivated and activated.”
Hunter stated that not all police officers are bad, but there are bad police officers. “We must do what we can to get rid of those people. We have an entire city council and mayor up for re-election. We need to make voting decisions to make sure no more black girls and boys die on behalf of police officers.”
He went on to state, “We must drain the swamp in the city of Chicago. Anybody that is running for mayor, in this city, should be speaking to these issues. Let us pray and let us start today.”