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Chicagoans Will Rally On Thursday For Third 'Laquan Day' Honoring Teen Shot 16 Times Police

By Stephen Gossett in News on Oct 18, 2017 6:40PM

Laquan Day, 2016 / Photo: Tyler LaRiviere

It's been nearly three years since Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times and killed by police. And once again Chicagoans will rally to honor the teen, call for justice and commemorate other lives that have been lost due to police violence.

Protesters will gather at Chicago Police Department Headquarters (3510 S. Michigan Ave.) on Thursday at 7 p.m. for the third Laquan Day. The action is also planned to coincide with a scheduled police board hearing. "Join the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression as we pack the room and let the police board know that the people are still watching," organizers wrote on an event page.

A town hall discussion is scheduled for the following day, Friday at 7 p.m., at Progressive Baptist Church (3658 S. Wentworth).

Hundreds gathered at last year's Laquan Day, where protesters released 600 balloons into the air, each balloon representing a victim of fatal gun violence in Chicago.

McDonald, 17, was shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014 by now-fired officer Jason Van Dyke, who now faces first-degree murder charges. Dashcam video of the fatal shooting wasn't made public until over a year later, after the 2015 mayoral election and just prior to charges being announced against Van Dyke. A wave of protests erupted in the wake of the video's release; longtime State's Attorney Anita Alvarez lost her primary bid amid the fallout; and the Obama-era Justice Department launched a probe into the Chicago Police Department—which ultimately concluded that CPD had engaged in a pattern or practice of using force—including deadly force—in an unconstitutional manner.

Prosecutors announced in June that three officers were indicted on felony conspiracy charges related to an alleged cover-up following the killing of McDonald.