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Justice for Laquan

September 19, 2018



Wednesday, September 19, 2018


Justice for Laquan

A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.


CHICAGO – As I sat in Courtroom 500 Wednesday afternoon, listening to the Cook County medical examiner explain the science of homicide, I was struck by the brutal intentionality and intensity of the slaying of Laquan McDonald, the 17-year-old victim of the ugliest lynching since Emmett Till.


The testimony of Dr. Ponni Arunkumar was chilling as she described – shot-by-shot – the deadly damage done by the 16 bullets Officer Jason Van Dyke fired into Laquan.


Color autopsy photos of the teen’s ravaged body and other photos of the mangled copper-jacket bullets that killed him, were displayed on a big screen television monitor. The images were too painful to watch for more than a few seconds.


The teenager was hit several times in the back of his body. Bullets tore through his muscles, his, his arms, his back, shattered his bones. Bullet fragments were removed from his teeth and mouth.


The prosecutor asked Dr. Arunkumar if there were “16 separate and distinctive gunshot wounds to Laquan McDonald?”


“Yes,” she replied.


How many total wounds?


When all the holes – entry and exit – are added up, the doctor said, “it comes to 24 holes.”


It was heartbreaking and infuriating to sit through. But I will return Thursday morning to continue supporting Laquan’s family and to see if a poor black teenager – whose slaughter was captured on video and broadcast around the world – can receive a measure of justice in an American courtroom.


Just as Emmett Till never did.



Don Terrydterry@rainbowpush.org


Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.


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