17-year old Laquan McDonald was killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014. Van Dyke was not arrested until a judge set a date for the release of dash cam video. That was in November 2015.
Van Dyke’s murder trial began the first week of September 2018 with jury selection. Twelve jurors and 5 alternatives have been selected. The jury consists of one Black woman, and two Blacks as alternatives.
On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the prosecution rested its case. Van Dyke’s defense will now be presented to the jury.
Following the trial has been difficult for me due to personal matters, but I do plan on blogging the verdict. Meanwhile, I have copied the post originally published in November 2015 because it contains background on what happened, including that without the intervention of Brandon Smith, an independent journalist, Van Dyke might not have been charged.
Originally published in November 2015.
It’s not what Laquan did or did not do. Rather, it is what the Chicago Police Department did after officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan.
Brandon Smith’s introduction on The Guardian, says that he is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns and pollution of land and water.”
Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
“Independent journalist.” I like that title because it reflects a form of journalism that has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It would be correct to replace “independent” with “investigative” in this matter, because what Brandon Smith did goes beyond reporting. Without the backing of a publication to finance his endeavors, Brandon Smith did not have to proceed at his own costs. Brandon worked along with another independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, and University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. Because they are independent journalists, they aren’t often issued press credentials to attend press conferences and such. In fact, he was not allowed to attend the press conference that discussed the release of video that came about due to his persistence and good work.
Had they not been independent and determined, we would not have the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Without the release of the video, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke would still be on paid desk duty; and his fictionalized report of what happened would be business as usual in cover-ups. Read the rest of this entry