A large group of medical students in Chicago has staged a “die-in” protest in memory of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager brutally killed by police last year.
McDonald, aged 17 at the time of his death, was shot 16 times by white police officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. A police video of the shooting, which was kept from public until last month, has stirred citywide demonstrations ever since its release under a court order.
On Thursday, dozens of medical students from the University of Chicago, Rush University and other area schools staged a “die-in” protest at Chicago City Hall to remember the young victim.
The group demanded Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation and laid in silence on the ground for 16 minuets, signifying the number of times Laquan was shot.
The students condemned the prevalence of police violence in the city and officials’ lack of accountability which has put the third largest US city on the verge of a public safety crisis.
“We want Rahm Emanuel to resign because we’re tired of the cover-up. We’re tired of all of the police brutality. We’re tired of the systemic racism in Chicago and something needs to be done about it,” a Rush University student said.
The rally was only one of the protests run in parallel on Thursday.
Demonstrators also gathered outside the Chicago Police Headquarters, demanding the Justice Department include the mayor’s wrongdoing in their declared investigation into the case.
They also urged federal investigations to probe all current and former employees of the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA), the body in charge of responding to complaints against police officers.
Members of the Chicago Alliance Against Racism & Political Oppression announced on Thursday that they had submitted more than 50 complaints of police abuse to the US Attorney General’s Office. They also submitted a letter requesting a federal investigation last year.
Emanuel, who apologized to the public on Wednesday, has become under immense pressure to resign over the shooting.
His apology speech sparked a larger wave of public outrage, prompting hundreds of people to stage new protests shortly after, demanding to know what he knew about the shooting, when and how the investigation was handled, and why Officer Van Dyke was not charged with murder for 13 months.