Videos Released of Police Shooting of Cedrick Chatman

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In an abrupt change, the city of Chicago has made public video footage that documents the shooting death of Cedrick Chatman at the hands of Chicago police. The 17-year-old Chatman was shot and killed while running away from police. The officers claim he turned around and pointed a black object at them, an object which turned out to be a black iPhone box.

Protesters Shut Down Streets in Chicago, Demand Emanuel Resign

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Hundreds of protestors have flooded streets in downtown Chicago, demanding that Mayor Rahm Emanuel resign.

The protests began after Mayor Emanuel publicly apologized for the death of Laquan McDonald, who was shot and killed by police in 2014. The Chicago Police Department’s chief of detectives retired suddenly Dec. 7.

On Release Week, 'Chi-Raq' Gun Commentary Is Grimly Relevant

Spike Lee didn’t plan Chi-Raq’s release to coincide with a year in which the number of mass shooting on record surpassed the number of days in the year thus far . Nobody could have expected that days before the film’s release, the shooting in San Bernadino, Calif., would push the gun debate to (another) boiling point, with cries for legislative action in addition to the frequent “thoughts and prayers” of politicians.

That most people are Chi-Raq with the shootings in California fresh in their minds is a coincidence — one which makes the film’s message all the more immediate.

Chi-Raq is a satirical drama, a modern retelling of the ancient Greek Lysistrata. In Lee’s version of the story, Lysistrata (Teyonah Parris of Dear White People) is the girlfriend of Chi-Raq (Nick Cannon), a rapper and gang leader on the south side of Chicago. He’s also in the midst of a war with Cyclops (Wesley Snipes), the leader of a rival gang. When a young girl in the neighborhood is killed by a stray bullet, Lysistrata rallies women affiliated on both sides of the gang war to demand peace by denying their men sex.

What starts as a protest becomes a movement, taking the city of Chicago and the world by storm.

Dashcam Video Released; Chicago Will Not Press Charges in Shooting Death of Ronald Johnson

Dashcam video of police officers pursuing Ronald Johnson, released by Chicago PD on Dec. 7.

Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez announced Dec. 7 that there will be no charges in the death of Ronald Johnson.

Ronald Johnson was shot and killed by Officer George Hernandez. According to Alvarez, Johnson resisted arrest and refused to drop a gun he was holding. Dashcam video of the shooting was also released. Officers had purported it shows Johnson holding a gun, but the images — dark and blurry — are inconclusive.

There is no sound on the video.

Alvarez had said she would make her decision based on "whether there was enough evidence to bring charges against the officer," reports the Chicago-Sun Times, and concluded there was not. 

Johnson’s mother has sued the city and Officer Hernandez, claiming that her son was not carrying a gun.

Read more here.

Emanuel and the Chicago Police Have Trust Issues

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McDonald was a 17-year-old kid, gunned down by a police officer as he was walking away. The dashcam video shows Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times in the back.

But the official police story after the murder was that McDonald “refused to comply with orders to drop the knife and continued to approach the officers.”

The officers. Multiple officers witnessed the shooting, but none of them blew the whistle. Instead, they participated in a huge cover-up. It took 400 days for the video to be released. Why did it take so long?

Many speculate it’s because Emanuel was in the middle of a close election and the video would have hurt his chances of winning. To add fuel to the cover-up conspiracy, 86 minutes of footage was deleted from a Burger King security camera, including footage of the shooting. According to NBC Chicago, “a Burger King district manager said police deleted the security footage after spending more than three hours in the restaurant.”

Yeah. Emanuel and the Chicago police have trust issues.

Because in the end we are left with this fact: Laquan McDonald is another black body that didn’t matter.

Much More Than a Seat on the Bus: 60 Years Later

Photograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King jr. (ca. 1955). Public Domain via Wikimedia. 

We have told ourselves the story that somehow benevolent white folks acquiesced (and perhaps even saw the error of our ways) and, after a court case, “let” Mrs. Parks and all black folks sit wherever they wanted to on a bus. And, golly, looking back perhaps we were a little stringent in fussing about who sat where on a bus—but that’s all behind us now. Goodness—it sure would be nice if people would just stop talking about race!

The problem with this narrative is that it isn’t true. We in America haven’t dealt with the complicated history of what happened on Dec. 1, 1955 — or what happened before, or after. Many Americans have heard the name “Rosa Parks,” and they may have heard something about a bus. But they don’t know the history. As we look at the profound unrest and distrust in our nation, it is important to know the history.

Co-opting the Name of Christ

Zacarias Pereira da Mata /

Zacarias Pereira da Mata /

The clerk in Kentucky is still trying to avoid doing her job while arguing that religion means never having to sacrifice or compromise in any way. The war-on-Christmas crowd is still passing around that story about a red coffee cup lacking snowflakes. Those who believe in an eye-for-an-eye are cheering as bombs fall in the Middle East in response to another horrific terrorist attack. Many Christians are still ignoring the calls for justice coming from the streets of Chicago, Minneapolis, and cities all across the land.

Don’t you want to throw up your hands sometimes? Or maybe just throw up?

Video Released of Chicago Police Officer Shooting 17-Year-Old Laquan McDonald

Screen shot of dashcam video

After more than a year, and an eventual judge order, Chicago police today released a dashcam video showing officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. Police released the video the same day Van Dyke was indicted on first-degree murder charges. He is being held without bail.