CHICAGO (CBS) — A vigil on what would have been Laquan McDonald’s 23rd birthday took place in Chicago’s South Shore neighborhood Friday night. Instead of reaching that milestone, McDonald died at the age of 17.
McDonald was shot as he walked away from Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. That would only be learned later when body camera footage was finally released more than a year later.READ MORE: Chicago Culture Celebrates The City While Giving Back To Youth For Black History Month
The death of Laquan McDonald captured worldwide attention and brought the Department of Justice itself down on the Chicago Police Department.
Organizers of the vigil say real reform can only happen with significant changes to the Chicago Police Union contract. That Fraternal Order of Police contract is being negotiated.
Critics across the country have said the contract is weak when it comes to holding officers accountable for misconduct. Activists are going over some of the sections of the contract that they say stifle investigations into police misconduct.
Community activist Will Calloway says the Chicago FOP contract offers a tangible way that community members who are concerned about police misconduct can weigh in on how to make the process better.
“It’s time for us to get more policy oriented,” Calloway says.
Calloway’s group is asking to eliminate three things: the requirement for sworn affidavits for investigating civilian misconduct, a 24-hour delay for officer statements in shooting cases, and the right to review and amend statements.READ MORE: Mother And 10-Year-Old Daughter Dead, 4 Family Members Hospitalized After House Fire In Auburn Gresham
“We think that is horribly wrong and needs to be changed immediately,” he says.
They also want to make possible the release of photos of officers under investigation and to give the Civilian Office of Police Accountability discretion to recommend termination of officers with 30 or more complaints.
“They’re talking about us impeding the in the discipline of our members. Well, they want to talk about impeding. Go to 26th and Cal and see what real impeding is,” says John Catanzara, president of Chicago’s FOP Lodge 7. “They’re basically saying that the police officers we represent should have less rights than the criminals on the street, which is absolutely ridiculous.”
Meanwhile Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office says the city’s negotiating team has reached out to the FOP for a date to continue negotiations and they have yet to hear back.
The FOP says they did respond but want to work through a financial only offer first.
“A lot of times when anything happens that’s very detrimental to the public, a lot of times it takes them being directly affected before they want to advocate for it,” Calloway says of why citizens should care about the contract.
Meanwhile the city says they finished agreements with every single union except the FOP, which has now gone 1,182 days without a contract.MORE NEWS: Chicago Weather: Warm But Wet Sunday Morning Ahead Of Cold Front
CBS 2 asked how the city feels about the points being discussed in South Shore. A spokesperson did not comment directly, but instead cited some recent transparency reforms, which include an end to requiring the destruction of disciplinary records.