Arrested protesters demanding federal charges against Jason Van Dyke say they have no plans to stop
The “Laquan Nine” were arrested Thursday after linking arms inside the Federal Building in the Loop.
The nine protesters arrested downtown Thursday while demanding federal charges against former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke are vowing to keep up the fight in a “season of outrage.”
“We are willing to sacrifice our freedom in the name of justice, and whatever we have to do to continue this message, whatever we have to do peaceably to get our message heard and to get justice for Laquan McDonald, that’s what we are willing to do,” said community organizer William Calloway, speaking to reporters Friday at Quinn Chapel A.M.E Church in the South Loop.
The protesters were arrested after they locked arms inside the Dirksen Federal Building in the Loop Thursday evening, the same day Van Dyke was released from a state prison after serving a little more than three years for McDonald’s killing.
The arrested protesters were among several dozen people who gathered in Federal Plaza earlier with former mayoral candidate Ja’mal Green, the Rev. Michael Pfleger and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and delivered a letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch demanding civil rights charges against Van Dyke.
The arrested protesters called themselves the “Laquan Nine” and face federal charges, Calloway said. They were released before 8 p.m. Thursday and are due back in court Tuesday.
McDonald’s grandmother, Tracey Hunter, one of the most outspoken advocates for new charges against Van Dyke, was released after initially being detained with the group.
Asked about the relatively small turnout Thursday, Calloway said he and his fellow community organizers know they need to increase the numbers.
“We do need our faith-based leaders to step up .... We can’t talk about the civil rights movement and not mention the faith-based leaders. That was the foundation of the movement in the ’60s,” Calloway said.
For those who say the U.S. Department of Justice has had ample opportunity to file federal charges, Calloway said: “Donald Trump’s Department of Justice had no motivation for holding police accountable. So for four years, this situation with Laquan McDonald — the federal investigation — it was tabled.”