Local activists joined Tracy Hunter, grandmother of Laquan McDonald to denounce US Attorney John Lausch’s decision not to file federal charges against the convicted murderer and former Chicago Police Officer, Jason Van Dyke.
In a statement earlier this week, US Attorney John Lausch claimed the “family was in agreement not to pursue a second prosecution” in reference to Jason Van Dyke, a claim the family of Laquan McDonald vehemently deny. The family says Rev. Marvin Hunter, who has no blood relation to the family has been falsely acting as the family spokesperson and is the only one who was in contact with the US Attorney. The family says US Attorney Lausch never spoke with them prior to making his decision.
“Monday’s announcement from U.S. Attorney John Lausch is simply unacceptable. We wholeheartedly disagree with U.S. Attorney Lausch and his rationale for declining to bring federal charges against Jason Van Dyke. This isn’t justice—and furthermore, it’s certainly not what Laquan’s family wanted.
We want to be clear that Reverend Marvin Hunter does not speak on behalf of Laquan’s family. Rev. Hunter has no blood relation to Laquan or the McDonald family; he is not a spokesperson for the family. For U.S. Attorney Lausch to cite Rev. Hunter’s wishes when announcing his decision to not charge Jason Van Dyke is wrong. This is not—and should not be—how the justice system works.
“The facts of this case are simple and clear: Jason Van Dyke violated Laquan McDonald’s civil rights when he shot sixteen bullets into his body. Van Dyke was then convicted of second-degree murder and sixteen counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Just as Derek Chauvin did two states away—and pled guilty to when he murdered George Floyd—Jason Van Dyke violated Laquan’s civil rights. So, what makes this case different? The only answer we can think of is a U.S. Attorney refusing to do his job.
The family and activists called on US Attorney General, Merrick Garland to bring federal charges against Van Dyke. IL-07 Democratic Candidate, Kina Collins also called on local elected officials, many of whom were elected because of the Laquan McDonald Case, to “do their jobs” in pressing the US Attorney General and Department of Justice in pursuing federal charges against Van Dyke.
“I want to be very clear to U.S. Attorney John Lausch: do your job,” said Kina Collins, gun violence prevention advocate and Democratic congressional candidate in IL-07. “When a police officer pumps 16 bullets into the body of a child, you have an obligation to press federal charges. The entire system failed Laquan McDonald. We have to hold the powers that be accountable because our civil rights do not stop at a prosecutor’s office door.”
The family was joined by members of the “Laquan 9” including Justin Blake, uncle of Jacob Blake who offered their support to the McDonald family. The press conference comes days after US Attorney John Lausch declined to file federal charges against Jason Van Dyke in connection to the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald.
Jason Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. He was released from prison in February 2022 after serving less than half of his 81-month sentence. The McDonald family and activists say they will continue to fight for justice and charges against the disgraced former police officer.
“Still, the fight does not end here. One bad decision from U.S. Attorney John Lausch does not change our demand for accountability. That still holds—and we will keep fighting for it. The buck does not stop here. We are calling on U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland and the U.S. Department of Justice to step up and properly charge Jason Van Dyke.”
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