Accountability for the Laquan McDonald Police Shooting Starts With State’s Attorney Alvarez, Police Superintendent McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel

The following statement by SEIU Healthcare Illinois, Indiana, Missouri & Kansas Executive Vice President Greg Kelley concerns the Nov. 24, 2015 release of the police dashcam video of the October 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, an African American teenager, by a Chicago police officer, and the statements of city officials leading up to the video release:

State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel were derelict in their duty to discipline and prosecute the officer responsible for McDonald’s death. Rather than seeking justice, these City officials worked to cover up and hide details of the crime from the public.

Like many in Chicago and across the country today, I question whether Alvarez, Emanuel and McCarthy would have taken action had a judge not required the City to release video footage of the crime. Public confidence in State’s Attorney Alvarez to prosecute this unthinkable crime is lost, and she should step down immediately. Additionally, Police Superintendent McCarthy should leave his post for allowing the officer responsible for such a crime to remain on any duty with the Chicago Police Department.

If we have learned anything from Ferguson, Mo., and the countless police shootings that have occurred across the country, it is that police and public officials must engage the public and be forthcoming in dialogue—not hide the truth and distort the facts.

It is time that our leaders reassess the priorities of our cities. We need a qualified and funded police force, but we also need to consider that the police department consumes 40 percent of our city budget. Something is wrong with the way we are allocating our resources.

We hope and pray for justice for Laquan McDonald and his family and demand accountability from Alvarez, Emanuel and McCarthy for their actions.

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