CHICAGO — Some members of the Laquan McDonald family are still seeking federal charges for Jason Van Dyke following Monday’s announcement that he would not face civil rights violations.
Activists joined the family outside of the federal courthouse Thursday morning — calling on the U.S. Attorney’s Office to file the charges.
“I’m so upset, I’m so angry about this outburst, this outcome,” McDonald’s grandmother Tracey Hunter said.
Van Dyke was released from prison after serving half of his seven year sentence for killing McDonald. He was able to be released early due to Illinois’ statute for good behavior while incarcerated.
After his release in February, there were large protests outside of the federal building as activists demanded federal charges.
“That is a major injustice against everything that we stand for we will never sit silently and let these things take place,” Dr. La’Shawn Littrice said.
On Monday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office released a statement saying it would not pursue federal charges against Van Dyke and that they had consulted with McDonald’s family.
But McDonald’s grandmother has been outspoken about wanting a second conviction.
“Nobody contacted the family, me or his mom, to say that we’re not seeking federal charges against Jason Van Dyke. Yes we are,” she said.
Some family members are torn between fighting for federal charges or for more police reform.
At the time of Van Dyke’s release, The Rev. Marvin Hunter, McDonald’s great uncle, said he thinks the family should focus on the bigger picture.
“The time of the citizenry would be more well spent in changing the laws that police are governed by as opposed to trying to go after one officer and extend his prison time,” he said.
Prosecutors said the bar to convict Van Dyke on federal charges would be much higher than the one for state charges. They would have to provide that he knew deadly force was excessive and “that his actions were not the result of a mistake, fear, negligence or bad judgement.”
When pressed on who in the family the U.S. Attorney’s Office spoke with, the office declined to comment.