Two of the Chicago police officers involved in the investigation of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald have been taken off the streets and assigned to administrative duties.
The city’s inspector general and prosecutors will continue to probe statements the officers gave that contradict the dashcam video of the incident.
Read More: Documents In Laquan McDonald Case Expose Cowardly Lies of Chicago PD
Is this move supposed to suffice as a form of “justice?”
Detective David March and Officer Joseph Walsh essentially covered for their partner Jason Van Dyke who fired 16 shots at McDonald — most of them while McDonald was already on the ground.
The city of Chicago completely mishandled this case, and small appeasements like “taking the cops off the streets” isn’t enough to pacify community members who want to see real justice and the resignation of the Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is just as responsible as the officers.
These cops, who wanted to let another black male die in vain to hide their department’s corruption shouldn’t even still have their badges. Their loyalty should have been to the community, not to Van Dyke.
Walsh said that he "backed up" as McDonald got within 12 to 15 feet of the officers and "swung the knife toward the officers in an aggressive manner," according to police statements released by the department last month. Walsh said he and Van Dyke repeatedly called on McDonald — who police said had been breaking into vehicles in the area just before the incident — to drop the knife.
The knife-swinging, however, was miraculously not captured in the video footage.
The department also allegedly intimidated civilian witnesses and fabricated some witness accounts of the incident.
This type of blatant misconduct deserves more severe repercussions than “desk duty.”
Furthermore, the shooting occurred more than a year ago and the dashcam video was released nearly three months ago.
Why weren’t these steps taken immediately after the video revealed discrepancies in the officers’ statements?
When Van Dyke was initially charged with first degree murder, for a very brief moment, we thought Chicago was on the right track.
So many white officers throughout the nation who have shot black males in cold blood did not face any legal punishment, so this action by the city of Chicago was a milestone for victims’ families, activists and the black community as a whole.
However, to the disappointment of many, as more details of this case have come to light it seems Chicago’s officials and law enforcement might take the cake for worst of all.
Van Dyke still awaits trial for murder but if he gets off free or with a slap on the wrist there will undoubtedly be unrest, not just in Chicago but throughout the country.
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Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Peter Nicholls