Like most people did on Tuesday night, I saw the footage of a Chicago Police officer unloading 16 shots into an unarmed Black male, Laquan McDonald, whom police claim lunged at them.
That footage is something that I can never un-see. I live not too far from where the shooting took place. I drive down Pulaski Road every day. I frequent the Dunkin Donuts across the street.
I understand why some folks don’t want to see the video. However, a lot of people out there who believe that incidents surrounding police confrontations are figments of the complainant's imagination need to see what most black people have complaining about.
Some folks will never understand why the police are feared, in some cases, simultaneously hated, in black and brown communities. We’ve seen this play out online since the video was released.
People are outraged for several reasons but think about this: It took Brandon Smith, a Chicago freelance journalist, to sue the city after his Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request was initially denied.
Even after that, Smith said on his Twitter account that he was denied access to the press conference detailing the police and mayor’s reaction to the footage.
Think about that the next time someone reads us the, “Where’s the media?” riot act.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez knew of the footage for over a year, and charges weren’t filed until Tuesday morning.
Let’s put this in proper perspective: the police, along with two elected officials, sat on the tape for over a year, while quietly dishing out a settlement to McDonald’s family for $5 million. Emanuel told reporters on Tuesday evening this:
“Jason Van Dyke violated both the standards of professionalism that come with being a police officer but also basic moral standards that bind our community together,” Emanuel told reporters on Tuesday Evening. “... I understand that people will be upset and want to protest when they see this video, but I would like to echo the comments of the McDonald family. They’ve asked for calm, and for those who choose to speak out, to do it peacefully. They said they did not want violence to be resorted in Laquan's name but to let his legacy be better than that.”
When Emanuel was up for re-election earlier this year, he called in an old buddy to help him emerge victorious.
Even the mayor himself showed no chill when getting back to the business of running the city as he sees fit:
Our elected officials were privy to an execution carried out by a police officer and fought to make sure the general public wouldn’t see it.
Meanwhile, this is the same mayor who tried to stop Spike Lee from filming the “Chiraq” movie. Our mayor was worried about the negative attention Lee’s film would bring to the city as he sat on footage of execution.
As this point, “Chiraq” is the least important thing in the minds of most Chicagoans. This is evidently apparent as today, on Black Friday, protesters will take to the streets of Chicago to call for a federal investigation into this horrific shooting and the police department itself.
I’m not sure how anyone involved remains relatively unscathed. More importantly, how many times has this happened before? That’s chilling to think about. Without the footage, that cop would still be working.
Even after all of that, folks want to blame black-on-black violence and the protesters instead of the mayor, the state’s attorney, along with the police. The people who subscribe to the "All Lives Matter" premise have no legs to stand on. It sounds good in theory but history immediately debunks their claims.
These folks are angry at people for protesting but give a pass to the reasons why there’s a protest in the first place.
After all, black people demanding their rights will always be a convenient villain for those who want to avoid an uncomfortable conversation about race and an oppressive system by those who benefit from it.