The Case of Laquan Mcdonald

Laquan McDonald's October 2014 killing garnered national attention and increased local activism following the release of dash cam footage showing his shooting by Chicago police on November 23, 2015. This video shows 17-year-old McDonald being shot 16 times in under 15 seconds by Chicago Police Department Officer, Jason Van Dyke while other officers looked on and did not come to the aid of the teenager. It took State's Attorney Anita Alvarez 13 months to file first-degree murder charges against Van Dyke, who had been on desk duty since the shooting. The city fought to withhold the footage citing ongoing federal investigation into the shooting. However, a judge ordered the release of the footage after a freelance journalist filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. In preparation of the video release, both Emanuel and McCarthy called for peaceful protests knowing the graphic nature of the video.

The response before and after the release of this footage shows the impact activists have on city officials. If not for activists, such as the freelance journalist, many say that this footage would have never been released. It was because of the release that the city's black aldermen renewed their called for McCarthy's resignation or termination. “We as leaders of this city have to demand better of our elected officials who are charged with protecting us all equally. It is no excuse for this type of behavior,” declared freshman Alderman Howard Brookins of the 21st Ward alongside the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus. “This has gone on and on and enough is enough. The official position of the black caucus is that we have called for the resignation or termination of the Superintendent of Police McCarthy.”