Trial of Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald Begins with Only ONE Black Person on Jury

  Laquan McDonald

It was almost four years ago that Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke fired his gun and struck 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as he was walking away from Van Dyke and other cops, with his arms at his side. Laquan was spun around by the impact of the bullet and fell to the ground, motionless. But the killer pig did not stop there—he kept on firing, one bullet after another, until he had emptied his weapon. Laquan was shot in the left scalp, neck, left chest, right chest, left elbow (2), right upper arm (2), left forearm, right upper leg (2), left upper back, right arm, right forearm, right lower back. 16 shots. A young human being, cut down in cold blood, his future gone in a hail of police bullets.

Unlike in almost every killing by police, Van Dyke was charged with murder—but only after the video of this outrageous crime was forced to the surface more than a year later, exposing not only the police lies but how the powers that be in the city, up to the mayor, had worked to cover up the video and keep it from going public. And only after righteous protests demanding justice for Laquan had shut down the heart of the city, and reverberated to broad sections of society, including among middle class professionals and white suburbs, where most people usually support the police and ignore or justify the poverty and repression faced by the masses of Black people.

The second week of Van Dyke’s trial ended on Friday, September 14, with the seating of the jury—which includes only ONE Black juror, along with seven whites, three Latinos, and one Asian-American. This in a city that is almost one-third Black! The killer cop’s defense team fought tooth and nail to prevent Black people from serving on the jury. The jury includes one woman who is an aspiring Chicago cop, another who described the protesters outside the courthouse demanding justice for Laquan as “scary,” and one who expressed support for the police.

Van Dyke’s lawyers have made it clear they’ll try to portray Laquan as someone with a “violent” past—as part of justifying the murder. This dehumanization of Laquan is being given wind in the sails by the local media coverage, including a piece in the Chicago Tribune that went into great length and detail about his many arrests and other conflicts with law enforcement, troubles in school, and so on—totally overshadowing the few anecdotes about how his friends and family remembered him as someone with a lot of humor and heart. This character assassination of Laquan is akin to when rape victims find that, after they press charges, their entire sexual history is put on trial.

Contrast that with the “humanizing” of Van Dyke, which began before the trial with an extensive interview in the Chicago Tribune in which he was handed an opportunity to talk about (as he “wipe[d] his tears away”) how he feared being separated from his family “for doing my job as I was trained,” etc. This has continued with news coverage about how he had to make the really hard decision about whether to go for jury trial or a bench trial (in which the judge decides the verdict), how he looked during the jury selection, blah, blah, blah….

Meanwhile, there has been a theme coming from even some relatively progressive columnists and writers that whatever the outcome of the trial, this whole storm touched off by the killing of Laquan has already brought big positive changes to Chicago. Bullshit. If Van Dyke walks, it will mean that nothing done by pigs in this system, in the name of carrying out their duty and fearing for their lives, will be punished—no matter how blatant and outrageous. And this will make it even worse for the masses of Black and Brown people who already face intolerable terror and brutality at the hands of the police. These kind of articles in the media are supposed to be “consolation prizes in advance” for when the pig walks. Fuck that!

And it should not be forgotten that while Van Dyke pulled the trigger in the murder of Laquan, all the cops who were on the scene, the whole police department up to the top brass, the police “review” board, the city council, and Mayor Emanuel were all involved in the lies and the cover-up. So far, three cops have trials coming up later this year on misconduct, obstruction, and conspiracy charges related to the cover-up. But there have been no consequences for all the others involved.

People in Chicago broadly—especially, but not only, masses of Black people—are increasingly following this trial, which is being broadcast on local TV. The time is NOW to make clear that Van Dyke must not walk—that this killer cop must be convicted of murder (and not of “manslaughter” or some other lesser charge), the crime he committed, and sent to prison. As the Revolution Club, Chicago told before the trial began Sept. 17:

“The murder of Laquan McDonald by Jason Van Dyke, and the massive cover-up that followed, reveals the lengths to which this system will go to protect and enable these killer cops; the truth that THE WHOLE DAMN SYSTEM IS GUILTY. And it reveals a strategic weakness of this system: That they have no answer to the genocidal police terror and mass incarceration of Black people as well as other oppressed nationalities. That overthrowing the system these murderous pigs really “serve and protect” is the only way to end this outrage, along with the many outrages rooted in this system from its wars and destruction of people and the environment, to the oppression and degradation of immigrants, women, and LGBTQ people. And the struggle that erupted against this murder revealed once again the potential that exists for revolution, if this is transformed, through struggle, into revolutionary understanding, determination, and organization.

“The Revolution Club Chicago demands that this killer cop, Van Dyke, be convicted and locked up for MURDER. We are calling for people to be out in front of the Cook County Courthouse Monday, September 17, 8 am to bring this demand, and we urge people to stay tuned into for upcoming plans and a call for national day(s) of action.

The murderer of Laquan McDonald must not be allowed to walk free, and people around the country must not just watch as this goes down but must act now to demand “Convict Van Dyke! Justice for Laquan McDonald! The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!”

Originally published at


Revolution newspaper/, the voice of the Revolutionary Communist Party, provides the foundation, guideline, and organizational scaffolding for the whole process of carrying out our strategy for revolution. Through publishing works of Bob Avakian, and through many different articles, interviews, letters, graphics, and other features, Revolution enables people to really understand, and act to radically change, the world.


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