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.”
“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
“We Fight for Men and Women Whose Poetry has Not Yet Been Written…” Remembering Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts
I learned of the 54th Regiment by watching the movie “Glory.” It was so interesting that I then purchased a book about it. Thanks for this post.
When it learned that the Federal Government was recruiting African Americans, both free men and former slaves as soldiers the Confederate Congress issued this proclamation:
“Any negro taken in arms against the Confederacy will immediately be returned to a state of slavery. Any negro taken in Federal uniform will be summarily put to death. Any white officer taken in command of negro troops shall be deemed as inciting servile insurrection and shall likewise be put to death.”
Those who doubt that the leaders of the Confederacy fought the war for any “state right” other than the maintenance and expansion of slavery needs to look at the actions and words of that racist republic.
One hundred and fifty-four years ago today one of those African American regiments went into action against the Confederate works at Battery Wagner, outside of Charleston, South Carolina. The 54th was raised…
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In the last several days, Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has made speeches before predominately White supporters asking African-American citizens to vote for him. Not only did he paint with a broad brush, he also told people that Democrats are bad for Blacks. He talked about the Republican party, the party of Lincoln, being the best choice for Black voters.
I am blessed to have been born to older parents, and 23 years after the first-born. My dad was born in 1897. He died when I was 16-years old and it’s as if I can hear him today talking about politics. I wish that I could hear him today. You see, one of the things my dad used to talk about was how colored people supported the Republican party, and how that would change with the 1960 presidential election.
Many black leaders, including Martin Luther King, Sr.,and Jackie Robinson, initially supported Nixon’s 1960 bid for the presidency. Southern Whites were devastated. They didn’t want to vote Democrat because Kennedy was Catholic, and they didn’t want to vote Republican because they believed Nixon was interested in giving voting and other civil rights to Blacks in the South. Kennedy then reached out to southern democrats by selecting Lyndon Johnson from Texas as his running mate. Read the rest of this entry
Friends of Padre Steve’s World
I have been amazed over the past couple of days following the terrorist attack committed by Dylann Roof on the pastor and parishioners of Emmanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. What has amazed me is the number of prominent Republican politicians, including a number running for president who are in full denial mode about the motivation of this young man. Not only that, anyone now asserting the truth that this was a racially motivated terrorist attack committed by a White Supremacist who evidently wrote a manifesto on a White Supremacist website, who told his victims “You rape our women and you’re taking over our country. And you have to go.” He confessed to the killings and even said that he almost didn’t go through with them because the people were so nice to him.
Even so prominent Republicans, Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry…
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On Friday, George Zimmerman was arrested on charges of aggravated assault, and domestic violence involving a weapon. We have since learned that the weapon was a wine bottle.
On February 26 , 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed 17-year old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman called the police non emergency number reporting a suspicious person. Travyon was returning from a convenience store, walking to Brandi Green’s house, where he and his dad were staying. Trayvon was unarmed.
Zimmerman abandoned his rental townhouse that same night, and did not return to work thereafter.
It was not until April 2012 that Zimmerman was charged with 2nd degree murder in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
The weekend before his arrest, George Zimmerman opened a website and requested financial donations to a legal defense fund. After his arrest, the money began pouring in. Via the jail house telephone, he instructed his wife Shellie on transferring the money and paying off their debts. At a subsequent bond hearing, George Zimmerman sat in court like a “potted palm” while his wife denied knowledge of the money. George also kept hidden that he had a valid passport in a safety deposit box.
By motion of the State’s Attorney, Zimmerman’s bond was revoked. He had a subsequent bond hearing where Judge Lester stated that he believed that if it was not for the ankle bracelet, that Zimmerman would have left the country with other people’s money. Shellie was charged with perjury.
Around December 2012, George, Shellie, and Mark O’Mara were sued by a security firm for breach of contract and failure to pay.
On July 13, 2013, a jury of six women acquitted George Zimmerman. Following his acquittal, Shellie appeared in court and entered a plea agreement on the perjury charges. She then announced that she filed for divorce. Read the rest of this entry
Long before there was a police force in America, there were sheriffs. The office of sheriff has its roots in 9th century England. According to the National Law Enforcement Museum, the early policing system was modeled after the English structure, which incorporated the watch, constables, and sheriffs (derived from the British term, “shire-reeves”) in a community-based police organization. The British system developed from “kin policing” dating back to about 900 A.D., in which law enforcement power was in the people’s hands, and they were responsible for their families or “kin.”) Early law enforcement was reactionary, rather than pre-emptive—the watch usually responded to criminal behavior only when requested by victims or witnesses.
Then called a “reeve,” what is now known as the Sheriff in America, was an individual originally selected by the serfs to be their informal social and governmental leader. The reeve soon became the Kings appointed representative to protect the King’s interest and act as mediator with people.
In the United States, approximately 98 percent of sheriffs are elected. Good, bad or mediocre, what sets the office of sheriff apart from the police force, is that the sheriff’s office is accountable to the citizens through the election process. Read the rest of this entry