Statement in reaction to the second-degree murder conviction of Chicago Police Office Jason Van Dyke in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald:
The verdict demonstrates a respect for Laquan’s life, and we hope it brings comfort to his family.
However, the verdict alone will not change the system that allowed this police officer to remain on the street in spite of his violent and racist disciplinary history. The police department that trained Jason Van Dyke and failed to discipline Van Dyke also helped cover up his crimes.
The Chicago Police Department as an institution – not just Jason Van Dyke – is culpable in Laquan McDonald’s murder. One police officer has been held accountable. It’s time for CPD to be held accountable as well. That should begin by strengthening the proposed draft consent decree by adding critical provisions to protect people from police violence, bias, and discrimination. The city must ensure mental health support for survivors of police violence and their families, require officers to divert people in crisis from the justice system and commit to comprehensive efforts to identify and root out biased officers.
True justice for Laquan McDonald will remain elusive until CPD takes the steps required to address the racism, misconduct, and violence that have tarnished CPD for decades.
Additional information about the changes needed in the proposed consent decree are available here: https://www.cpdclassaction.com