The video out, the officer charged, the problem persists

Screenshot - 11282015 - 12:02:29 PM

A press conference to discuss what we are working toward with the release of the Laquan McDonald video. Me at left, William Calloway at the podium, and Dorothy Holmes, right, mother of Ronald Johnson, who was killed by police a week before Laquan McDonald. Thanks to ABC7 for the screengrab.

A lot has happened in the past week, including my column in the Guardian; a New York Times article about me being barred from the press conference my lawsuit precipitated; and a Columbia Journalism Review article about my as-yet non-tethered nature in the news industry.

But here’s the latest.

My lawyer and I are demanding that all documents related to Laquan’s case are immediately posted to the internet. (We’re using #LaquanOnline.) That’s the only way to show the public what they need to know in this rather obvious cover-up. (Kudos to the Washington Post editorial board for not mincing words!) Making everything public is the only way the city will “heal,” as Rahm often likes to say.

We’ve filed a FOIA for everything involved in the case, but we are very interested in the first half of one particular video, if it exists; the video from one particular police car, if it exists; and the mysteriously missing audio from all the tapes. Also, crucially, any statements taken from any officers on scene; and the names of all the officers on scene that day.

But it’s not an isolated incident, as most of us know, and this case finally brought that idea into the sails of major media. In the article linked above, the Washington Post editorial board called for the heads of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. And the Post wasn’t easy on Rahm, either. Said the cover-up likely stretches all the way to him. Ben Joravsky also had an insightful column about Rahm’s position in all this.

In my view, Rahm needs to discuss the data behind police shootings. There’s one per week on average since at least 1986, according to the Reader’s Steve Bogira and copious data. (There are no signs of it slowing, as McCarthy has bewilderingly stated.) And Rahm needs to discuss the concrete steps he’s taking to make sure the shootings slow to a near halt. Not vague references to “culture.”

A good start would be to tear down and rebuild the so-called “Independent Police Review Authority,” tasked with investigating police misconduct. They have historically found virtually no officer at fault. Even a whistleblower has come out and shown (with emails!) that he was asked to falsify his investigations of police misconduct, and he was fired when he tried to push back internally.

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5 responses to “The video out, the officer charged, the problem persists

  1. Thank you

  2. Van Dyke was patrolling with a partner that evening, and was seated in the front passenger seat of the patrol car. If you look very closely at the video tape of the shooting, approximately five seconds before the patrol car came to a stop, the front passenger door opened twice. It looks like Van Dyke couldn’t wait to alight from his vehicle and draw his firearm, even though there were several cars already on the scene and several more soon to arrive.

  3. Dear Mr. Smith:

    Thank you for being the David in this Goliath of corruption. Thank you for your humbleness. I am not knowledgeable in law, but please have your documents & likeness copyrighted at least. Be sure you get all of the credit for your work.

    May God continue to Bless you and keep you.

  4. In Fremont CA, USA, early this year, a male with a knife was tasered by a Fremont cop and then he was shot, killed, murdered by a second cop. Shouldn’t the second cop have jumped on the guy as he was being tasered and handcuffed? When are America cops going to stop shooting people because they can get away with it? George at http://www.tastethewind.blogspot.com

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