UPDATE: 2:59 p.m. EST -- Malcolm London, the 22-year-old arrested in Chicago Tuesday during a protest over video footage of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, had charges of felony aggravated battery filed against him dropped Wednesday, according to local media. London was charged Tuesday after he allegedly punched a Chicago police officer.
Malcolm’s supporters cheered as he exited a Chicago courthouse Wednesday afternoon.
Scene outside courthouse pic.twitter.com/UICqIM32j8
— Steve Schmadeke (@SteveSchmadeke) November 25, 2015
After video footage was released showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old, by white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, many took to the streets for a largely peaceful protest Tuesday, WMAQ-TV in Chicago reported. While the protests didn’t escalate to violence as some feared, five people were arrested Tuesday night, including 22-year-old Malcolm London.
London was charged with felony aggravated battery after allegedly punching a Chicago police officer. London is the leader of the group of activists known as the Black Youth Project, DNA Info reported.
As leader of the group, he was asked by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to meet ahead of the release of the video, but refused to attend. An aspiring poet, London is a sitting member of the Young Adult Council of the Steppenwolf Theatre, a program for high school students who want to know the inner workings of the theatre, the Chicago Tribune reported.
London is also known for appearing in a TED Talk titled “High School Training Ground.” In 2012, he made his appearance on national television with a series of musical and poetry performances called “Verses and Flow,” the Tribune reported.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets in Chicago Tuesday, many chanting “Sixteen! Sixteen! Sixteen!” in reference to how many times McDonald was shot. Van Dyke, 37, was charged Tuesday with the October 2014 murder of McDonald, 17, and was also denied bail, Reuters reported. Van Dyke could face a 20-year to life sentence if he is convicted of his charges.
— Ida's Disciple (@prisonculture) November 25, 2015
Chicago officials had tried to block the release of the video, saying publicizing the video would violate a federal investigation into the shooting, the Chicago Tribune reported. A judge last week said the investigation wouldn’t be jeopardized because of the release.
The police union had said Van Dyke feared for his life when he was confronting McDonald, who was acting erratic. McDonald also reportedly had a folding knife that he wouldn’t drop, and also had PCP in his system.
— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) November 25, 2015
McDonald’s family received a $5 million settlement in April because of McDonald’s death. McDonald’s death comes amid a national debate over race and how police do their job. The deaths of young, black people at the hands of white police officers and vigilantes has given rise to Black Lives Matter, a civil rights movement that campaigns against violence toward the African-American community.