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CHICAGO — Nine demonstrators were arrested during protests over the early release of Jason Van Dyke, a former Chicago police officer who was convicted in 2018 for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

Those who were detained said Thursday’s civil disobedience is the least they can do.

“This is not a good cop versus bad cop situation. This is intentionally happening,” community organizer Kina Collins said.

Van Dyke walked out of prison in Taylorville just after midnight on Thursday after serving three years and three months behind bars. His early release has caused outrage among many in the community.

In response, protesters arrived outside the Dirksen Federal Building where nine people were arrested by U.S. Marshals.

“Jason Van Dyke, it took a whole movement to get him behind bars and they let him out early and we chanted with with our arms locked, we stood together and we were arrested immediately,” activist Dave Power said.

The court issued all nine defendants citations for loitering in violation of local court rules. They were released Thursday night are slated to appear in court virtually on Tuesday.

During the first week of Black History Month, many of the community organizers said they were compelled to show up Thursday to be on the right side of history, to finish a fight that for many began eight years ago.

“Today I have a 17-year-old boy, and I will be damned if I will stand by and let these organizers, community members, put themselves out there without me standing with them,” organizer Cate Readling said.

Activists said that in addition to federal charges against Van Dyke, they desire systemic change, urging for direct action, non-violence and electoral action in a second civil rights movement.