by Frederick H. Lowe
CHICAGO — Chanting “16 shots and a cover up,” 1,000 men and women on Friday marched down North Michigan Avenue, Chicago’s poshest shopping street, blocking entrances to stores to protest the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke and the alleged cover up of the deadly shooting by top city and county officials.
The chant referred to the 16 times Van Dyke shot McDonald as he lay on the ground after running away from Van Dyke and other police officers.
Although McDonald was alive as he lay wounded on the ground, none of the cops offered him aid. He died in an ambulance.
The second part of the chant referred to the deadly shooting which occurred on October 20, 2014.
Although Anita Alvarez, the Cook County State’s Attorney, had in her possession for 13 months the video of the shooting, she charged Van Dyke only after a judge ordered the video from police car dash cam released. Officer Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder on November 24 and released on a $1.5 million bond on Monday. The Fraternal Order of Police raised money for his bond.
Chicago city officials paid McDonald’s family $5 million to settle the case even before they had sued the city in the wrongful death.
McDonald was shot by Van Dyke who was responding to a complaint about car-break-in. McDonald had a pocket knife.
Many, many questions remain. The deadly shooting was recorded by a camera at a Burger King, but the restaurant’s manager said 86 minutes of film are missing.
Jay Darshane said he testified before a federal grand jury that police erased the surveillance video. The Burger King is near where McDonald was shot to death.
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Alvarez deny the Burger King tape was altered, but Darshane said police left the restaurant two hours later after he gave them the password to the protected video.
The police dash-cam videos also don’t have any sound.
The allegations that McCarthy and Alvarez botched their investigations have led to calls for their resignations.
Benjamin Crump, president of the National Bar Association, the nation’s largest association of African-American lawyers, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, recently called for Alvarez and McCarthy to step down (see today’s video).
During their march along North Michigan Avenue, protestors blocked the entrances to stores so shoppers could not go inside on Black Friday, one of the most-important shopping days of the Christmas shopping season.