CHICAGO — Community leaders are urging the city’s transportation unions to shut citywide transit down immediately in response to news that former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who killed Laquan McDonald, is being released early from prison.
“Jason Van Dyke violated under the guise of the constitution he violated the civil rights of Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014 and therefore he should be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law under the federal statues,” William Calloway, community organizer said.
On Saturday morning, community organizers gathered at the 95th Street CTA stop demanding that Van Dyke get federally indicted on civil rights charges for the murder of 17-year-old McDonald.
The former officer was convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal 2014 shooting.
On Friday WGN Investigates obtained records stating that Van Dyke, who was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison will be released Feb. 3.
“We are demanding justice of the most simple and basic kind in any other context a federal indictment would be the bear minimum that we would see in a situation like this,” Patrick McWilliams, Answer Coalition, said.
In response to news of Van Dyke’s anticipated early release, community organizers are asking members of local transit unions 241 and 308 to shut transit down citywide.
“We want to demobilize the city and we need the city to feel the impact of this not just in one concentrated area but citywide,” Calloway said.
The Rev. Tavis Grant with Rainbow PUSH Coalition says organizers have full support from the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is scheduled to have a conversation with leadership from the justice department this week.
“We know the power of boycotts we know the power of sit ins we know the power of marching we also know the power of our pain and during our pain into power is what we’re doing,” Grant said.
“We did not get sleep last night,” La’Shawn Littrice, Make Noise for Change, said. “Look around at the faces that are standing here because we are outraged, we are disgusted we are traumatized and we are hurt but we are hurt enough to form an organization and a coalition.”
The activists say they’re asking for equal justice.
“You have Black men in the federal pen for non-violent drug offenses doing more time than Jason Van Dyke has done in the state pen that’s not justice,” Calloway said.
Organizers passed out flyers highlighting a proposed 16 day shutdown of the CTA.