Update at 1:53 PM on 11/25/2015:
Tensions are extremely high in Chicago right now following what protestors are calling the wrongful arrest of Black Lives Matter Activist Malcolm London, as well as the release of the dashcam footage depicting Laquan McDonald’s murder by police.
London was arrested at last night’s protests for McDonald for allegedly assaulting an officer. However, protestors at the site and supporters across social media have been arguing that London never assaulted anyone, and that he was framed after an unidentified White man threw a stink bomb. London has been depicted my mainstream outlets as an average criminal, using strictly his mug shot in coverage of the story. However, his supporters have been quick to point out his immense accomplishments as an activist and his importance to the Black Live Matter movement.
Meanwhile, Brandon Smith, the freelance journalist who won the Freedom of Information lawsuit that forced the Chicago police to release the dashcam footage of McDonald being shot to death, was blocked from entering yesterday’s news conference with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy. Police said that he could not enter because the room was too full to let journalists in without prior clearance.
However, Smith said in an interview with the New York Times that he was barred entrance because of his role in uncovering the footage to the public. Smith voiced his frustration that he was a key figure in re-igniting the case, and that he couldn’t follow up with question towards Emanuel as he’d planned. Ultimately, a fellow reporter, Brad Edwards, volunteered to ask Smith’s questions on his behalf via Twitter:
When Edwards voiced Smith’s questions, McCarthy responded saying that Chicago’s shootings by police officers had dropped by 70 percent, though he failed to cite the statistic or give a more specific time frame. Emanuel later chimed in saying that Van Dyke, the officer who fatally shot McDonald, does not represent the department.
Smith says that he will continue filing Freedom of Information Act requests while reporting on other police brutality stories.
In anticipation of the inevitable and justified outrage that was sure to ensue after officials released footage of the execution of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, they charged his killer, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, with murder.
It wasn’t enough to quell the pain and grief of a people tired of being victims of state-sanctioned terror.
Protests have erupted across the city in response to what can only be called unspeakable violence. The smoke rising from Laquan’s body as he twitches on the ground, his life seeping away.
Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel called for “mutual respect” and “peace,” when what he is really afraid of — and should be — is the reciprocal response in the absence of either.
According to the Chicago Tribune, “The video captures 15 seconds of shooting. For 13 seconds of it, McDonald is lying on the street.”
And a city in mourning has taken to those same streets in protest.