Prosecutor Anita Alvarez tried to cover-up the brutal police killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Anita Alvarez stands in the way of justice for Black Chicagoans. Tell her to resign:
Yesterday, officials released graphic video of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times last October.1 It’s an unimaginably painful video that you don’t have to watch to know its horror. Now, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has charged Officer Van Dyke with 1st degree murder — the first time in 30 years that a Chicago police officer has faced criminal charges for an on-duty shooting.2
Officer Van Dyke’s arrest is a critical step forward, but it’s too little, too late. Officials, including State's Attorney Alvarez, have known about Laquan’s murder for over a year now and there is evidence that they were trying to cover it up.3 It's unacceptable, and part of a much larger crisis of anti-Black police violence and police impunity in Chicago. Chicago law enforcement kill more Black people than police in almost every other city, yet police are simply never charged.4
Join us in demanding that State's Attorney Anita Alvarez resign and and request a special prosecutor to take over the police killing case of Laquan McDonald.
After Officer Van Dyke fatally shot Laquan on October 20th, 2014, police said it "self-defense." They claimed that Laquan "lunged" at the police with a small knife and then closed the case, making no mention of video evidence. Thanks to a whistleblower in the city government, we now know that the police's story of Laquan's killing was a total lie.5The graphic video shows Laquan walking up a street and moving out of the way when Office Van Dyke and his partner jump out of their police car. Within seconds, Officer Van Dyke fires two shoots causing Laquan to fall to the ground. As the teen lay in a fetal position, Officer Van Dyke fired another 14 fatal shoots.6 The next day, police deleted 86 minutes worth of footage from a nearby Burger King that caught the killing on camera.7
State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is one of the worst prosecutors in America.8 Although she had access to the video of LaQuan's murder for over a year, she didn't indict Officer Van Dyke until she knew the video would be released and her political career would be threatened if she didn't act. According to the investigative journalists who broke news of the video, “at every level, from the cops on the scene to the highest levels of government, they responded [to Laquan’s killing] by circling the wagons and by fabricating a narrative that they knew was completely false.” 9 Of course, Prosecutor Alvarez is yet to charge any of the other officers or police leadership that helped cover-up Laquan's killing. How can we trust a prosecutor who protected Officer Van Dyke for a year knowing that he murdered a teenager?
What happened to LaQuan is far too common in Chicago and across the country. Chicago police shoot on average 50 people a year, yet no one is ever charged.10 In fact, Chicago law enforcement kill more Black people than cops in almost every other city, and thanks to Prosecutor Alvarez this crisis is likely to continue.11 Her failure to secure justice for Black families goes beyond negligence to deep-seated corruption. In April, Prosecutor Alvarez tanked the case against Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin for fatally shooting 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in order to protect her relationship to the local police union, which donates to her campaign.12 We cannot allow this corruption and systemic racial discrimination to continue. Prosecutor Alvarez is up for re-election next year. If enough people take action we can get her out of office before it's too late.
The year long delay in charging Officer Van Dyke and the lack of justice for countless other police violence victims in Chicago demands that we re-evaluate the leadership of this city. Click here to build a courtroom where justice for Laquan can be served.
Scott, Arisha, Lyla, Enchanta, Josh, and the rest of the ColorOfChange team.
November 25th, 2015
1. "Laquan McDonald video reveals false police account – but still leaves gaps," Guardian 11-25-2015
2. "Chicago Activist: City’s Call for Peace over Laquan McDonald Video Does Not Extend to Police Dept.," Democracy Now! 11-24-2015
3. "How Chicago tried to cover up a police execution," Chicago Reporter 11-24-2015
4. "Chicago tops in fatal police shootings among big US cities," Chicago Sun-Times 07-26-2015
5. "Journalist on Shooting of Laquan McDonald By Chicago Police Officer: “It Was An Horrific Execution," Democracy Now! 11-24-2015
6. See reference 5.
7. See reference 1.
8. "The horrifying behavior of Anita Alvarez, Chicago's head prosecutor," Daily Kos 11-24-2015
9. See reference 5.
10. See reference 8.
11. "City Comparison Tool," We the Protesters
12. See reference 8.