Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have both released statements decrying the police shooting of Chicago 17-year-old Laquan McDonald after officials released the video of the killing.
Chicago officials have finally released dashcam video that shows Laquan McDonald being gunned down by a police officer who fired 16 bullets in 15 seconds. The officer who fired all of the shots, Jason Van Dyke, has been charged with first-degree murder and the Windy City remains on edge.
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton issued a statement about the shooting. Clinton said, “The family of Laquan McDonald and the people of Chicago deserve justice and accountability. As criminal charges proceed, in this case, we also have to grapple as a country with broader questions about ensuring that all our citizens and communities are protected and respected. The mothers I met recently in Chicago are right: we cannot go on like this. All over America, there are police officers honorably doing their duty, demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples. The loss of so many young African Americans taken too soon should reaffirm our commitment to press forward for progress.”
In a separate statement, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said, “All Americans should be sickened by the video of Laquan McDonald’s murder. As a nation, we must do more than just echo the phrase Black Lives Matter. We must put actions behind those words. Actions that will bring about the fundamental reform that is needed in the face of this crisis. Criminal justice reform must be the civil rights issue of the 21st century and the first piece must be putting an end to the killing of African Americans by police officers.”
The Democratic presidential candidates are correct. We have seen police shootings of African-Americans all across the country. This is a problem that crosses all boundaries. African-Americans are losing their lives in big cities and small towns.
As Clinton said, each of these shootings raise broader questions about the whether or not all citizens and communities are being protected and respected. (They aren’t). Sanders was right in stressing that it is time to act.
How many African-Americans have to be gunned down by the police before something is done? Unlike the Republican candidates, both of the top Democrats see the problem and are fighting for change.
Laquan McDonald was shot dead on October 20, 2014, and the killing will continue until the American people demand an end to the excessive force mentality of some in the law enforcement community.