Proposed Law to Hold Public Officials, Mayors Accountable When Cops Kill
The police-involved shooting death of African-American teenager Laquan McDonald has reached its second anniversary and perhaps in honor of the deceased, Illinois lawmakers are introducing a bill that would hold political officials accountable for covering up police use-of-force.
Called the Laquan McDonald Act , and sponsored by state congressman Ken Dunkin, this law would focus on permitting citizens of Chicago and other cities in Illinois the chance to demand a recall of any elected official that is involved in covering up a police-involved shooting; from the mayor to the Illinois state attorney, and including members of the Board of Aldermen in the city of Chicago.
Now former officer Jason Van Dyke was caught on camera shooting McDonald 16 times within seconds of arriving on the scene.
Since being dismissed from the police force, Van Dyke has been employed as a janitor for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). The FOP told the press that they did not want Van Dyke to be without means to pay his bills and are paying him $12 per hour.
Beyond the murder of McDonald, the Chicago police have a history of racially-motivated police-involved shootings of African Americans.
Earlier this year, the Chicago Polcie Department (CPD) begrudgingly admitted that three officers were involved in the death of O’Neal, an unarmed African American man. Fifteen shots were fired by the cops at O’Neal, but the most shocking part of this story is that the police officers turned off their body cameras during the murder.
While the Chicago Independent Police Review Authority (CIPRA) released video of the aftermath, local news is reporting that one of the officers who killed O’Neal can be seen high-fiving another cop, saying : “Fuck, I’m going to be on desk duty now for thirty days.”
Another officer can be heard saying : “Make sure this [body camera] is off.”
In defense of the police officers, conservative media is reporting that “leaders from three Chicago gangs reportedly met last week to discuss plans to kill police officers in response to the officer-involved shooting death of” O’Neal and “an alert” has been “issued to Chicago officers.”
Holes in the officer’s story is already beginning to show and people like GS Potter, educator and founder of the Strategic Institute of Intersectional Policy (SIIP) is worried that since “there were no reports that [O’Neal] was armed and no evidence suggesting that he was armed when the call came through to officers” that this incident was blatant murder.
Potter points out that as O’Neal drove past the officers in the stolen car, “one of [them] opened fire on [O’Neal]” and when he exited the vehicle, the cops shot at him while he ran from them with “one of the shots [striking O’Neal] in the back and killing him.”
When the cops turned their body cameras back on , and as the unarmed teenager lay dying, one of the officers handcuffed him while another said: “Bitch-ass motherfucker, fucking shoot at us.”
Another cop claimed he couldn’t tell if the shots were theirs or O’Neal’s even though they knew the victim was unarmed; however another officer told his colleagues at the scene: “I didn’t know if [O’Neal] was armed or not.”
This would be a clear cut case of police brutality and out-right murder of an unarmed black teenager if it were not for the fact that in this current culture, black lives just do not matter very much. The fact is that “4 out of every 1,000 cases brought against law enforcement officers for murder have been brought to trial. Of these, an average of only one per year secures a conviction. One. And this one per year is usually accompanied by weak consequences.”
Even though it is against department protocol , as their defense, the officers involved in this killing said O’Neal was trying to run them over which is why they shot at him, but the victim was killed by a bullet to the back as he was running away from the cops at the scene.
And the worst part of this tragedy is another group of police officers will get away with murder thanks to legal precedent which states an officer must only have “reasonableness” when deciding whether or not to use force. In other words, cops “need only to claim that they thought a firearm or other deadly weapon was present in order to be cleared of federal charges brought for the murders they commit.”
Mayor Raham Emanuel is in support of the quick revocation of the officers who killed O’Neal because they had “violated department policy” in O’Neal’s death. But he stopped short of agreeing that there is a need for better police training, and refused to comment on the turning off the body cameras by the officers involved.