By Arlene Jones
I don't know what was going through Laquan McDonald's mind on that fateful night of October, 2014 when he was walking down the middle of Pulaski Road near 41st Street. What I do know is that he gave the international signal of youth when, right before he was shot, he had to pull up his saggin' pants.
I never wanted to see the video in public. Unfortunately, I was in a restaurant when the tape was finally released on Nov. 24. There it was in living color on a 60-inch screen. The image of Laquan being shot for no reason and seeing the force of the first bullet, which caused him to spin and fall to the ground, will forever be engraved in my mind. Then to see shot after shot hit him, many of which I am told went straight through his body striking the pavement which is why we see smoke rise. It was the heat and force of the bullet that caused it. This was painful beyond measure because it is irrefutable proof of just what is being perpetrated by some Chicago police officers.
Like many I saw the Chicago City Council Black Caucus members go on television and attempt to do damage control after they had previously voted on the settlement to Laquan's non-custodial family without seeing the tape and knowing the details — a testament to just how incompetent they are. Like sheep, they follow the mayor and do as he says without attempting to learn the truth. They also have allowed the city's corporation counsel to be their legal voice without having their own legal counsel to advise them on the wisdom of doing what they do.
Years ago, when I ran for alderman, Danny K. Davis spoke of all the "…ates" roles that an elected official has: Investigate, Legislate, Taxate, Advocate and Educate. It is obvious that the role of Investigate was lacking in this case. There should not be any forgiveness or understanding of how those black members of the city council could have voted for a settlement without knowing the details, without seeing the tape, and, in light of the 28 shots that Howard Morgan took from the CPD, the lack of curiosity as to why a 17-year-old needed to be shot 16 times in the middle of the street.
Many of them are running for ward committeeman. I hope they all lose to whoever is running against them. Truthfully, I am willing to march at every opportunity because this case, which occurred just prior to the mayoral election, was kept hidden. The mayor cannot be allowed to use city funds to pay off victims for their silence so that he can be re-elected. The State's Attorney has an obligation to the citizens before the police department. And the chief of police serves at the pleasure of the mayor. We all need to be surrounding city hall and demanding heads roll because of this case.
None of us are safe if all of us aren't safe.
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