On Friday, we saw something that rarely happens. A police officer was found guilty of second degree murder for killing a Black teenager. However, and this shouldn’t be a shocker, the police union and the National Black Police Association see the conviction differently.
Jason Van Dyke killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. He was found guilty of second degree murder and 16 different counts of aggravated battery (one for each bullet).
Of course, the police union blasted the conviction. According to The Chicago Sun Times, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police said in a statement, “This is a day I never thought I’d see in America, where 12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians at the expense of a dedicated public servant.”
The statement continued, “This sham trial and shameful verdict is a message to every law enforcement officer in America that it’s not the perpetrator in front of you that you need to worry about, it’s the political operatives stabbing you in the back. What cop would still want to be proactive fighting crime after this disgusting charade, and are law abiding citizens ready to pay the price?”
Van Dyke fired at McDonald 16 times within 14 seconds and the video clearly showed he was walking away—nonetheless, the police union clearly did not want the officer to be held accountable. On the other hand, the National Black Police Association released a powerful statement, which read in part, “We cannot demand a criminal justice system that calls for the accountability of citizens, but not police officers. We cannot demand to be held at a higher standard only when it benefits us. We cannot demand that we be seen as human if those we are sworn to protect and serve are not seen as human too. Laquan McDonald was a citizen deserving our protection, even in the midst of his human frailties; he was only 17-years old, he had a family, and he was loved.”
How sad that police union’s statement made no mention of the victim.