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Rev. Jackson: “All roads lead to Feb. 3rd “Day of Outrage” over release of Jason Van Dyke

All roads and social justice fight­ers lead to the 5 p.m., February 3 “Day of Outrage” protest where hundreds are expected to attend a rally denouncing the early release of former Chicago policeman Ja­son Van Dyke, who only served three months and nine days for killing 17-year-old Laquan Mc­Donald.

That was the message echoed by Rev. Jesse L, Jackson, Sr., Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-1st), Father Michael L. Pfleger, Bishop Tavis Grant, national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, Tracey Hunter, the grandmother of McDonald, the aunt, Tanisha Hunter, activist Will Calloway and scores of supporters during a Monday, January 24, press con­ference at the Rainbow PUSH Coalition headquarters.

Rev. Jackson, Rep. Rush, Fa­ther Pfleger and the Hunters agreed that Van Dyke should not be released early for good behav­ior and called on the Department of Justice (DOJ) to charge him with violating McDonald’s civ­il rights. Rev. Jackson felt the 81-month sentence was unfair noting that many Blacks incar­cerated on lesser charges serve their full time.

The 43-year-old Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times on Octo­ber 20, 2014, and was charged by indictment with six counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a fire­arm—one charge for each of the 16 shots.

A jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and all 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke to six years and nine months, which triggered protests then and now.

Referring to Van Dyke, Rev. Jackson said not only did the for­mer Chicago policemen mur­dered McDonald, but he also “lied to the government about it.” And, with the help of protests the video was finally released af­ter 400 days, Rev. Jackson labeled the emotional ordeal as being “16 shots and a cover-up.”

Bishop Grant and the support­ers also want the DOJ to file civ­il rights charges against the three Chicago policemen who were found not guilty of conspiring to cover up Van Dyke’s murdering McDonald. Opting for a bench trial, officer Thomas Gaffney, former officer Joseph Walsh and former detective David March were acquitted of conspiracy, ob­struction of justice and officialmisconduct by Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson.

The aunt of McDonald told reporters, “It’s crazy how I got to go to a cemetery and talk to a tombstone while this man” will be freed on February 3rd. What the Hunter family and support­ers want is “justice for Laquan.”

They also want the three Min­neapolis officers who held down George Floyd while Derek Chau­vin kept his knee on Floyd neck for almost nine minutes until he died. Chauvin was convict­ed of murder and manslaughter last year.

Bishop Grant wants former Minneapolis officers J. Alexan­der Kueng, Tou Thao and Thom­as Lane to also be charged with vi­olating the rights of Floyd who at the time was handcuffed, telling them he could not breathe then calling for his mother who had died a long time ago.

Like Van Dyke, Bishop Grant said, “They too did not serve and protect. They did nothing as Chauvin took the life of Floyd in front of witnesses who vid­eo-taped the murder.”

Father Pfleger said, “Every sin­gle part of Chicago and Illinois should be standing up to keep this man (Van Dyke) in jail. This is not a Black issue. This is a jus­tice issue,” he said as supporters applauded him.

Rep. Rush called for a day of action on February 3, and Callo­way wants the CTA to shut down on January 31 to protest the ear­ly release of Van Dyke. “Sixteen shots and a cover-up,” he chant­ed as Rush and scores of support­ers chimed in.

McDonald’s grandmother called for the intervention of Pres­ident Biden saying, “Come fotward. We need your help. I need your help.”  She said her family is still in pain over the killing of her grandson and like the other supporters she too is seeking ”justice for Laquan.”

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