Chicago activists and politicians alike have joined forces and are demanding that city officials hire a special prosecutor in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, reports USA TODAY.
The case is currently being tried by Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, who is up for reelection this year. However, Democratic representatives Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, along with various activist groups, are demanding that Alvarez be replaced, saying that she was slow to bring charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with McDonald’s murder.
“[We] are simply saying that we don’t believe the current state’s attorney ought to handle the prosecution in this case,” Rep. Davis wrote in the petition. “If there is going to be justice, then this is a necessary part of it.”
Alvarez also faces criticism for failing to bring charges against any of the other officers on the scene, and activists point out that Alvarez has a track record of siding with police officers—during her tenure, the officer who fatally shot Rekia Boyd only faced involuntary manslaughter charges and was found not guilty.
“This state’s attorney cannot be relied upon to zealously pursue such prosecutions, as is demonstrated not only by the McDonald case, but also by her record in other police misconduct cases,” reads the petition.
Alvarez issued a statement yesterday, accusing the petitioners of trying to jeopardize her reelection campaign.
“It’s more than a little coincidental that this action is being taken less than 30 days before an election, at a press conference held by the political supporters of a candidate for state’s attorney,” she said in a statement.
An autopsy shows that Van Dyke fatally shot McDonald 16 times in October 2014, including multiple times in the back. In November 2015, Van Dyke was indicted on six counts of murder. He is currently out on bail.