"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

Andy Zee,
co-director of the film


BA Speaks

No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that.

BAsics 1:13


Chicago Pays $5 Million to Suppress Dash Cam Video of Laquan McDonald Shot 16 Times by Police

We Demand the Video Be Released Now! Indict the Cop Now!

April 20, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Laquan McDonald
Laquan McDonald

On April 14, the day of nationwide protest to stop police murder, the City Council of Chicago voted 47-0 to approve a $5 million payment to the family of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times and killed by Chicago police last October 20 for “refusing to put down a knife.”

The so-called “independent” police review board investigation has made no findings yet in its ponderous process to nowhere. The cop has not even been named, has not even been charged, and is still working for the police department. The family had not yet filed a lawsuit. Yet $5 million was awarded to the family. A Chicago Tribune editorial reports that the city attorney made the offer to pre-empt a federal lawsuit. Why? The City does not want the video of the murder released and the settlement stipulates that the family cannot release it.

We can only surmise that what the video shows must be bad, really bad—so bad they don’t want anyone to see it. Mary Mitchell from the Sun-Times (“Why the city doesn't want video of Laquan McDonald's shooting release.” Posted: 04/14/2015) reported that the lawyer for the family who has seen it said the video has not been aired because of the “fear of violent protests.” The lawyer reported that Laquan’s uncle was really concerned and afraid he would see their neighborhood burned.

Fear of THIS is why the City Council made the settlement offer.

Jeffrey Neslund, the family’s lawyer, described the scene on the video to Mitchell: Laquan is walking away from police with a knife in his right hand. “He is not running. He is not lunging. He is walking. Two Chicago police officers jump out of a Tahoe with their guns drawn. McDonald is still walking west toward the sidewalk with a full lane of traffic separating him from one of the officers. When the officer begins shooting, the first shots spin McDonald around. The officer continues to fire from a distance of between 12 and 15 feet. McDonald falls. The only movement is the puffs of smoke coming from the teen’s torso and his head.”

Jamie Kalven and Craig Futterman reported in (“Sixteen Shots”) that the autopsy report shows Laquan was shot in the left scalp, neck, left chest, right chest, left elbow (2), right upper arm (2), left forearm, right upper leg (2), left upper back, right arm, right forearm, right lower back.

Sixteen shots. This is hard to read without a sense of overwhelming horror, and anger, and fury—what must it be like to watch it? A snuff film of a young human being, with his whole life ahead of him, shot down in cold blood—his future gone in a hail of bullets.

The six cops on the scene who participated in this execution, and the higher ups, have been lying and covering up and demonizing Laquan from the very first press release when they said Laquan lunged at a cop and the cops feared for their lives. Neslund says that detectives went the next day to the Burger King and seized their surveillance footage without a warrant.

And now the Mayor and City Council are trying to buy the suppression of the dash cam video. If the video backed up the cops' story, then there would be no need to suppress it. And that is an explosive contradiction for the state. Being “transparent" is a problem for them because those videos reveal the murder of a young Black man by police. One Black person is killed by a cop, vigilante or security guard at least every 28 hours in this country—something that more and more people are becoming aware of and angry about and determined to stop. And that reveals the ugly reality of the very nature, role, and regular practice of the police—to brutalize, torture, and murder Black, Latino and other oppressed people and forcibly use the armed might of the state to keep them in an oppressed condition, backed up by the whole system. (The same day, the City Council also voted for $5.5 million in reparations to a long list of victims of torture by the CPD.)

The City should have to pay Laquan’s family $5 million—but $5 billion could never make up for stealing the life of this young man or all the others cut down day after day.

The murder of Laquan McDonald is recorded on video. The truth must come out. The Chicago Tribune published an editorial on April 16, calling for the release of the video and making the point: what good are body cameras if the cops control who sees the video. The City and the cops cannot be allowed to get away with suppressing the video, nor can they be allowed to justify police lies and murder by buying their way out.






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