On Nov. 25, video evidence was released showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. However, the reason this case is receiving so much attention is because it was a police-involved shooting that occurred more than a year ago, on Oct. 20, 2014, and was just swept under the rug by the city.
With incidents such as these, where the victim takes an unnecessary number of shots or when it’s depicted as a race issue and an abuse of authority, citizens have a right to know. In incidents where a white officer is involved with the death of a black person, whether justified or not, it is in the city’s best interest to feed the people what it knows.
By keeping the people up to date with what’s happening in an ongoing investigation of this magnitude, it makes the people feel important and shows that the government cares about what happens to its people and about upholding justice.
Even though city officials still may not please the people of the city when keeping them updated in certain cases, especially ones where racial profiling is evident, it’s better than sweeping the cases under the rug.
In doing so, the officials just looks like they’re trying to protect their own and that the incident was merely a bug on their windshield. The people have a right to know, and when the officials don’t do their job in relaying information to the people, they are bound to respond.
The people of Chicago deserved to know and had a right to know what happened, and due to the nature of the case, many people decided to protest the actions of the city’s officials. The protest was deemed peaceful, which as a result shows how they stand by their cause strongly and advocate for change without breaking the law.
Protesting has more power than people realize. As one person, it’s easy to go unnoticed, but as a strong unit composed of the masses, it makes ignoring the cause nearly impossible. Not only does having a swarm of people calling for action help the cause, but the way they call for actions affects how others view it and the people associated with it.
Through peaceful protesting, people know that they may misdirect some of the attention from their cause to their own actions if they were to become violent. But similar to Martin Luther King Jr.’s March on Washington, the people of Chicago, led by black leaders, walked around the city’s Magnificent Mile, drawing attention to their cause. During the protest they called for the resignation of the city’s mayor and police superintendent. As a direct result, their protesting grabbed the attention of the city’s government and also the attention of the nation.
People were able to put the power of change into their hands. However, if the city would've just been upfront about the incident and respected the people’s right to know, the people’s call for justice would be nonexistent.
This incident not only reminded the nation of the importance of a citizen’s right to know, but also the of power of peaceful protest.
Tanesha Bridenback is a contributing writer for the Central Florida Future.