Recent History of the Chicago Police Department & More Revelations of Cover-up in the Murder of Laquan McDonald

December 7, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Dashcam Video of Officer Jason Van Dyke Shooting Laquan McDonald

Police murder Laquan McDonald at 5 minute mark

Every day since the video of the police murder of Laquan McDonald by Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke was released last week, more has come to light about the cover-up carried out by the police that started right at the scene of the shooting of Laquan and reveals the cops’ standard operating procedure.

The regional manager of the Burger King near the shooting incident told the media that the BK video system had never experienced a technical glitch. But after police spent hours with it, right after the shooting of Laquan, over 80 minutes of video surrounding Laquan’s murder vanished. The audio from at least five police dash-cams on the scene (automatically triggered when the car’s flashing lights are turned on) somehow doesn’t exist due to “technical malfunction.” The Chicago Tribune recently obtained all the statements given by at least five of the other cops at the scene, along with the summary reports by the Chicago PD investigators who declared it “justifiable homicide.” All the pigs who were on the scene straight up lied in order to cover up for the pig who pulled the trigger.

The number of police shootings in Chicago has averaged one every week over years. In 2014, the year that Laquan was killed, there were 50 police-involved shootings on record, and 18 of them were fatal. The Chicago police have a long and sordid history of shooting and outright murdering people and doing so with complete impunity.

Another dash-cam video is about to be released—of the Chicago police murder of 25-year-old Ronnie Johnson. The city has just abandoned its months-long fight to keep the video from being released to the public. Ronnie’s mother and the family’s attorney, both of whom have viewed the video, say it clearly shows the police shooting Ronnie in the back as he is running away. This police murder took place in October 2014, around the same time and in a similar fashion as the murder of Laquan. The family has been demanding for months that the video be released to the public. No cop has been charged for Ronnie’s murder. Other cases of police murder continue to spill out into the public eye.

Besides police murder, there were major revelations earlier this year in The Guardian (UK) about the “black site” at Chicago’s Homan Square, supposedly a police evidence storage facility, where people detained by the police, disproportionately Black and Latino, were taken “off the record.” (See “Homan Square: Chicago Police Dept.’s Continuing Criminal Enterprise” at People were tortured, some forced to make false confessions. Many disappeared for days and lawyers and families could not find where they had been taken while police “questioned” them.

There is also the recent firing of Lorenzo Davis, the top investigator for the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), a Black 25-year police veteran. He was fired for refusing to change his findings against cops in just four of the thousands of cases of police use of excessive force. Around the same time, the police arrested and beat George Roberts, the only other Black investigator at IPRA, for daring to do the same. On November 18, 2015, the New York Times ran an article based on the findings of the Invisible Institute in Chicago which details how rarely police are punished. For instance, “from 2011 to 2015, 97 percent of the more than 28,500 citizen complaints resulted in no officer being punished...”

Before this there was the years-long Burge torture scandal. Under Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, many people were subjected to unbelievable cruelty, including electric shocks to their genitals. Burge was protected from prosecution for this torture until the statute of limitations ran out—and then only did minor time for perjury. He still collects a pension, which funds his retirement in Florida. Other cops involved in the torture with Burge are still on the force.

Numerous major city officials (and those above them) are entangled in the current crisis around Laquan McDonald’s murder because over and over again, they have protected the police and pretended ignorance (really, ignore-ance) of the scope of police terror. But anyone on the street in Chicago’s oppressed communities will tell you about it. There was the court case in the murder of Rekia Boyd and the case brought in federal court in the murder of Darius Pinex, where it came out that there was a cover-up starting right at the scene—these were covered in major media. There were also studies associated with the University of Chicago, exposés in the pages of the Chicago Tribune, exposures and stories by independent journalists for literally years. It was all right there hidden in plain sight.

So it was an insulting and infuriating moment when Mayor Rahm Emanuel, at the press conference announcing the release of the video, implied that Laquan McDonald’s murderer, Jason VanDyke, was a single bad apple who had to be held accountable. A protestor’s sign on Black Friday expressed what many feel: “There are no good apples.”




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