What the Guilty Verdict for Laquan McDonald’s Killer Could Mean for Policing
Friday last week, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder for killing 17-year old Laquan McDonald in 2014. Van Dyke is the first Chicago PD officer to be convicted of murder in 50 years. Below is a statement from the Law Enforcement Action Partnership’s executive director, Major Neill Franklin (Ret.).
“I believe the guilty verdict for the officer who killed Laquan McDonald could reflect the early stages of a coming wave of change in American policing. Departments around the country are doing a better job of improving transparency and accountability than ever, but substantial record-keeping isn’t yet mandatory in all departments and only a few agencies have the benefit of an effective, independent, civilian review board. I’m hopeful that if organizations like LEAP and others working on police reform continue to push these issues forward, more police will come to understand accountability is in their best interest because it builds trust. Anti-police sentiment fuels anti-police violence, so officers are safer when trust with the community is strong. It’s also easier for us to do our jobs when people trust us enough to call for help and answer the door when we have questions about local incidents.
Accountability has never been about tarnishing the reputation of good police. Quite the contrary, accountability has always been about holding the profession in the highest esteem, rewarding good officers for their upstanding conduct, and building agencies that are more effective at keeping people safe.”
The Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) is a nonprofit group of police, judges, prosecutors, and other criminal justice professionals who use their expertise to advance public safety solutions. LEAP’s nearly 200 law enforcement representatives from diverse backgrounds speak on behalf of thousands of law enforcement professionals across the U.S.