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Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is living proof of the needlessness of the “back the blue” movement because our justice system already bends over backward to protect police officers from being accountable for what they do while on the job.
Understand this—Van Dyke was convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. A court of law ruled that he was guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery when he decided firing 16 shots into a Black teenage body was the appropriate response because Laquan had a knife. For that conviction, accountability came in the form of a paltry 6-year sentence—of which he ultimately served less than half.
Now, Van Dyke has been afforded the privilege of dodging a federal civil rights trial. And what’s worse is federal authorities appear to be playing around in our faces claiming the McDonald family is in agreement with the decision not to move forward with federal charges while at least one family member is saying there is no truth to that.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago said in a news release Monday that the decision by U.S. Attorney John Lausch not to file federal civil rights was made after consulting with the McDonald family and that the “family was in agreement not to pursue a second prosecution.”
“U.S. Attorney Lausch has spoken with a representative of Mr. McDonald’s family on multiple occasions over the past three years, including recently,” the statement read. “The family was in agreement not to pursue a second prosecution, and the Office respects their position.”
But Tanisha Hunter, Laquan’s aunt, is saying something different.
“I want to see charges,” Hunter said. “That three years is not enough. No, it’s not possible. I feel like he need to go back to federal prison because what he did was not right.”
As far as the notion that the family has agreed that Laquan’s killer shouldn’t face federal charges, Hunter not only denied it, but she said family members were never even contacted about it.
“That’s not true because if anyone contacted me or my mother Tracey Hunter, my sister, or me as Laquan McDonald’s auntie, that’s not true,” Hunter said. “Nobody contact neither one of us three to let us know what’s going on.”
So, if it’s a family member’s word against a justice system that is designed to treat police officers as sacred and Black life as expendable, I’m betting on Black every time. The system has failed Laquan, and thus it has, once again, failed us all.