Activists Respond to Van Dyke Verdict: ‘We Got Closer to Justice’

Community activists and organizers on Friday began gathering outside City Hall before the verdict was announced in the murder trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Shortly before 2 p.m., they huddled in groups around cellphones to livestream the court proceedings that would decide the fate of the white officer who shot and killed black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014.

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Once the guilty verdict was read, the crowd hooted.

“This is a historic victory,” said Frank Chapman, field organizer for the Chicago Alliance Against Racial and Political Oppression. “It’s not just a victory. It’s a history victory because for the first time, we’re getting some degree of justice here.”

The demonstration – or as some are calling it, celebration – continued into the evening and spread into the rest of the downtown area, ending shortly after 6 p.m. 

But some activists say there is more to be done in their efforts to hold police accountable.

“We want City Council to examine and deny any [Fraternal Order of Police] contract that has harmful provisions in them,” said Tanya Watkins, a member of Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation, or SOUL. “We want City Council to work with community members to create real methods for public safety so people aren’t being terrorized by police in their communities.”

Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @AmandaVinicky

Related stories:

Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

‘I Feel That We Gave a Good Verdict’: Van Dyke Jurors Speak Out After Trial

Legal Analysis of Van Dyke’s Guilty Verdict

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