Protesters in Chicago marked the second anniversary of a black teen’s fatal police shooting by proposing a bill Thursday that would allow voters to recall officials in elected positions —including that of the city Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
In Oct. 2014, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by then-officer Jason Van Dyke who now faces first-degree murder charge. A civil rights investigation by the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division is ongoing into the shooting.
On Thursday, activist William Calloway and Democratic state Rep. Kenneth Dunkin introduced a legislation titled The Laquan McDonald Act. The bill seeks to allow the city people to recall any elected official by special election.
“This will increase the confidence back in the voters and give them the power to recall elected officials,” Calloway said. “And most importantly, it would add to the legacy of Laquan McDonald.”
The teen’s family also released a statement for the anniversary.
“Time has not dulled the pain of this tragic loss to his mother, his sister and the rest of his extended family. We thank all of the people who have honored Laquan's memory and continue to advocate for police reform. We look forward to the day when Jason Van Dyke will be held responsible for Laquan's senseless murder and everyone involved in trying to cover up this criminal act is held accountable. Only then will justice be truly served,” McDonald’s family said in the statement.
The McDonald incident triggered protests in the city with several people demanding Emanuel’s resignation. While the mayor refused to step down, the protests and pressure lead to the resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy while State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez lost her reelection campaign.
Furthermore, it took over a year for the city to release a dashcam video of the shooting leading to further agitation and concerns among people over the handling of the case. In February, Emanuel supported a new policy that will hold officers accountable.
“Two years ago Laquan McDonald lost his life tragically and unnecessarily. His death was a wake-up call for our city on an issue that has challenged the city for decades, and brought a renewed commitment to a public conversation about policing and community relations,” Emanuel said in a statement Thursday. "But more than just breaking from the past, we will continue working together across the city to build a brighter future by restoring trust between residents and our officers, and implementing the reforms necessary to prevent this from happening again.”