A Year After Laquan McDonald Video, Chicago’s Reforms Uneven

By DON BABWIN, Associated Press MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — Laquan McDonald‘s life seemed to be headed nowhere. A ward of the state who had been shuffled between relatives’ homes and foster care, he was 17 when, high on the hallucinogenic drug PCP, he wandered down the street slashing tires with a knife.

This week marks the one-year anniversary of the release of the video showing the night a white police officer shot the black teen and kept shooting as he lay mortally wounded — 16 times in all.

The video turned McDonald into one of the most significant figures in the story of race and justice playing out in Chicago and across the country, though one whose lasting impact remains in doubt because of the city’s uneven response and the uncertain impact of Donald Trump’s election as president.

Though the city has created a new agency to investigate police shootings and misconduct it has delayed the promised creation of a citizen oversight board. Critics say the city is not spending enough money for the new agency to work effectively and that it won’t be independent of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.

A probe of Chicago police practices by the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division is expected to wrap up in the first months of next year. That could mean a final draft and enforcement of any reform recommendations is left to the appointees of Trump, who repeatedly cited Chicago’s violence during his campaign and said the city’s police should get “very much tougher.”

Still, the video and release of reports of officers at the scene did something that other police shootings of African Americans could not: Not only show the killing but also the way officers allegedly covered it up.

“Here, the video of an officer using deadly force without basis (and) the falsification of police reports is precisely why there …read more    

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