Black teen’s brutal killing by US police sparks protests
Hundreds of people have taken to the streets of Chicago to protest against the shooting death of a black teen by a white police officer.
The protest was held in response to the release of a police video that showed the horrific death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014.
The protesters, who stayed on the streets until Wednesday morning, displayed their anger by chanting “Who do you protect? Who do you serve?” and “16 shots! 16 shots!”
Organizers have announced plans to continue the protests throughout the week, with a demonstration at City Hall slated for Wednesday and another one at the Michigan Avenue on Friday.
At least five of the demonstrators were arrested, although the demonstration was largely peaceful and calm, police confirmed.
“While on the whole last night’s demonstrations were peaceful, a few isolated incidents resulted in five arrests related to resisting arrest and assaulting police officers,” a police spokesman said Wednesday.
McDonald’s family also issued a statement earlier, asking for calm in Chicago. “Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name, let his legacy be better than that,” the statement said.
The night of protests was preceded by an eventful day that started with first-degree murder charges against Van Dyke. Hours later a judge ordered the city to release a graphic video from a police dashboard camera that had recorded McDonald’s death.
This is the first time in nearly 35 years that a Chicago police officer is being charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality.
If convicted Van Dyke will be facing a minimum of 20 years in prison.
The number of US police officers charged in deadly shootings has surged to the highest level in a decade this year, but only a small percentage result in convictions, according to recent studies.
A Washington Post database hints at 796 fatal police shootings by officers until October this year.