It seems like we hear about a new horribly violent tragedy every few days. One of these happened in our own city, and as citizens of Chicago, we should all be informed of the details of this case. The death of Laquan McDonald occurred on October 20, 2014. He was a 17-year-old black male who was shot 16 times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. The issue of police brutality has been constant in the news over the past two years and has led to angry protests throughout the country.
One of the biggest reasons for Chicagoans’ anger was the fact that the video footage of this shooting was not released until 13 months after the crime. There had been arguments on both sides whether to release it or not, and the McDonald family even spoke out saying that they “did not want to see it and had not seen the video of their son’s execution.” The family has also called for peaceful protests across the city.
The Chicago Police Department did not want to release the video and denied multiple requests to release it. Finally, Brandon Smith, a freelance reporter, sued the police department under the Freedom of Information Act and a state judge ordered its release. The video came out on November 24, and there have been numerous protests since, the most notable one being the Black Lives Matter protest along the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday.
The biggest backlash of the video’s release is the call for our mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. Some people believe he was largely responsible for the cover up of the video (his hand-picked police superintendent has already resigned). Students at Latin sometimes are not oblivious to issues such as these, and some have strong opinions about the matter.
Sophomore Anastasiya Varenystya, is in favor of having Rahm resign. She says, “What we have to remember is Chicago has a long history of police brutality in the CPD (Chicago Police Department). The Laquan case is one of many that they’ve seen, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. We must fight off injustice to protect our brothers and sisters in a world of systematic racism.”
Another student, who would like to remain anonymous, does not think that Rahm should resign. They think that resigning would not do much for the city and does not believe Rahm is totally at fault for the cover up. They said, “I’ve admired Rahm for quite some time. I think he’s incredibly bright and dedicated. Lately though I’m disappointed with skyrocketing property taxes, the situation with CPS, and the McDonald case to name a few and am hoping the Mayor can resurrect himself and get back on track for the good of the city.”
Students at Latin have diverse opinions on this subject, but what’s important to remember about situations like these is to keep an open mind and listen to the other side. A 17-year-old boy died in our own city, and no one knew the truth about it for 13 months. If we do not have conversations and listen to each other, nothing can be done to fix that. Latin students can be leaders, and my personal hope is that we see Latin students start facing these issues head on to make for a better community and a better city. What can the Latin School, one of the most prestigious high schools in Chicago, do to make our city safer?]]>