FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, January 17, 2019
Not Guilty Verdict a Victory for Police Code of Silence and Culture of Cover-up
A statement by Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
The police code of silence and culture of cover-up won today. The public’s trust and faith in the criminal justice system lost.
The acquittal of Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney, ex-Officer Joseph Walsh and former Detective David March on felony charges of lying, official misconduct and obstructing justice in the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was a travesty.
Chicago has been haunted and harmed for decades by a police department and a criminal justice system that tolerates and remains silent in the face of brutality, lying and racism in blue. The city has spent more than $500 million to settle police abuse cases, including $5 million to the family of young Laquan.
I’m deeply disappointed by today’s decision. This case demands that we focus on the selection and election of just and impartial judges.
The three officers – and their enables in the department and on the bench – brought shame to the department. The many good officers should stand up and smash the code of silence. They should not allow themselves to be held hostage by bad actors and a toxic police culture that contaminates the water for everybody, officers and citizens alike.
When Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who shot the teenager 16 times, was convicted last October in a Cook County criminal courtroom, I thought it might be a sign of change, a small measure of justice.
Today’s not-guilty verdict was the exact opposite of change. It was business as usual – injustice, Chicago style.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.