Impending Release of Police Officer Renews Attention in Killing of Laquan McDonald

For immediate release: February 1, 2022

Washington, D.C. – The impending early release from prison of former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke this Thursday, February 3, has renewed attention in the 2014 killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. In 2018, Van Dyke was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, one count for each bullet round fired at McDonald.

In a July 2021 policy report, “Police and Communities: Bridging the Divide,” The Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE) highlighted the Laquan McDonald tragedy in calling for an end to collective bargaining with police unions over disciplinary issues. The CURE report cites a June 10, 2020 editorial from the Wall Street Journal editorial board that said “Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, had been the subject of 20 complaints – ranking in the top 4% of Chicago’s police department – including 10 that alleged excessive use of force.”

“A greater balance must be found, one where police officers are able to appropriately protect the public and defend themselves, while also allowing for a better process to identify and remove bad cops who cause harm in their communities and undercut public trust in policing,” said Star Parker, Founder and President of CURE.

While some complaints against police officers are questionable, too many collective bargaining agreements over disciplinary issues present opportunities for bad cops to avoid accountability for serious infractions.

Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer convicted of second-degree murder in the killing of George Floyd, had reportedly been the subject of at least 17 misconduct complaints. The CURE report said in noting that the protection provided to bad cops by some collective bargaining agreements could have been a factor in both the George Floyd and Laquan McDonald killings.

The report calls for ending collective bargaining over disciplinary issues, so that authorities are able to identify and remove bad cops, especially repeat offenders, and ensure greater safety and trust in the community.

About CURE: CURE is a policy and research center dedicated to fighting poverty, seeking solutions for black families to grow and their communities to flourish, and restoring dignity through messages of faith, freedom and personal responsibility.

You can find CURE’s report here. For more information, please go to CUREpolicy.org or contact [email protected].                                   ##

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