The Rev. Jesse Jackson said Saturday he’s hoping for a “police shakeup from top to bottom” after the release of a dashboard-cam video showing a Chicago police officer shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times.
Jackson also called on Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to step down for “failing” to charge the officer involved in the deadly Oct. 20, 2014, shooting near 41st and Kildare in Archer Heights.
“Ms. Alvarez refers to this killing as justified homicide,” he said at a news conference at the Kids Off the Block memorial for child victims of violence in Roseland. “That’s why she needs to go.”
Accompanied by Kim Foxx, who’s challenging Alvarez in the Democratic primary next year for state’s attorney, Jackson told reporters he hopes people will act with “civility” when the tape is released on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.
“We hope people will be civil and to focus on a remedy and not just reaction,” Jackson said. “I think a major police department shakeup should be a step toward a remedy and relief. I think the indictment of the killer and witnesses would be a major shakeup. The issue should be: There are consequences for killing people in this way.”
Jackson said the violence that some anticipate after the release of the video already has happened, saying, “Sixteen times shot is the violence. The quietness in the face of it is violence.”
A Cook County judge ruled Thursday that the Chicago Police Department must make the video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald public by Wednesday.
About two hours after the ruling, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who had fought the release of the video, put out a written statement in which he reversed course and announced he wouldn’t try to have the decision overturned on appeal.
Emanuel said he hopes the video “will provide prosecutors time to expeditiously bring their investigation to a conclusion so Chicago can begin to heal.”
Van Dyke’s attorney has said he’s concerned for the officer’s safety after the video is released. Van Dyke, who hasn’t been charged with any crime, has been stripped of his police powers and placed on desk duty.
Jackson said the officer is still getting paid “while McDonald is perishing in the grave.”
He wants the Justice Department to investigate McDonald’s death.
Foxx said what bothers her most about the McDonald case is that it’s been more than a year without charges.
“It’s been 393 days that we have not held anyone accountable for what happened,” she said.
Alvarez spokeswoman Sally Daly called the comments Saturday “politically charged rhetoric.”
“We have been working actively with our investigative partners at the federal level to conduct a comprehensive investigation,” Daly said. “We will have more to say about the facts of this case next week.”
The shooting happened after police responded to a 911 call that a knife-wielding man had threatened him and was attempting to break in to vehicles in a trucking yard.