The police shooting death of Laquan McDonald in 2014 has re-ignited the conversation on the media’s biased and often intentionally misleading/incriminating depictions of Black Americans in crime stories.
Last night, as protestors shut down Chicago streets following the release of the dashcam footage depicting McDonald’s murder, prominent Black Youth Project Activist Malcolm London was arrested with four other protesters. London was accused of striking a police officer and was arrested with a felony count of aggravated battery to a police officer. The Chicago Police say the officer was released with minor injuries.
This tweet was released from London’s Twitter account saying:
However, other protestors and supporters of McDonald are refuting the Chicago PD’s claims, and are arguing that police targeted London for his status as a popular and well respected activist. They say that McDonald didn’t punch an officer—rather he was ambushed by the police after an unidentified White man threw a smoke bomb.
People also believe that the police targeted London because he was one of the activists who refused to meet with Mayor Rahm Emanuel and who spoke out against Emanuel’s call for activists to keep the community calm following the release of the video. The last straw was likely when London demanded that Chicago Police Chief Garry McCarthy resign from his post.
The story has gained traction with local and national media, yet his mugshot and felony charge depict him as if he were a run-of-the-mill criminal rather than a well known and accomplished freedom fighter.
Tweets tagging London’s account and featuring the #FreeMalcolm and #FreeMalcolmLondon hashtag trended today, saying:
London is due in bond court today. Three others were arrested for resisting a police officer including: Johnae A. Strong, 25; Troy T. Alim, 24; and May Page, 26. Dean M. Vanriper, 38, who cops say possessed a taser and a knife, was charged with one felony count of possession of a controlled substance, one misdemeanor count of unlawful use of a weapon, and one misdemeanor count of possession of a deadly weapon.
Earlier this month, London, a poet, activist and rapper, presented for the UN in Geneva, Switzerland on Chicago’s immense police violence and targeted force against Black youths in a program addressing genocide and torture. He also appeared on the first televised TED Talk on PBS alongside Bill Gates and John Legend and has gained fame as a poet after appearing on TVOne’s “Verses & Flow.”
In addition to being a council member of the Steppenwolf Theater as well as a member and co-chair of the Black Youth Project, he is also a coordinator for the Know Your Rights Project at Northwestern Law School. London’s creative projects following the developments surrounding the Black Lives Matter Movement have previously garnered him media coverage on the Huffington Post, The Root, CBS, NPR and the Chicago Tribune.
Even Cornel West bows down to the successful 21-year-old, calling him the Gil-Scott Heron of his generation.
Black council members in Chicago are now calling for McDonald’s release along with the thousands of outraged supporters on social media.
Alderman Roderick Sawyer said today at a press conference that he “applaud[s] the youth in our community for last night’s actions, particularly the young man I mentioned previously, Malcolm London, who has been held in jail unjustly.”
He released a tweet saying:
At the press conference, Sawyer continued: “He needs to be released today, so that he can continue this activism.”
We’ll keep you updated on what happens next with London and McDonald’s case here at HelloBeautiful.com.