President’s comments chime with Hillary Clinton’s lament for ‘loss of so many young African Americans’ as Chicago braces for more demonstrations
President Obama has said he was “deeply disturbed by the footage of the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald” in a Facebook message in which he also thanked the people of Chicago for their peaceful protests.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has also plunged into the heated debate following the release of a video showing the black teenager being shot multiple times by a Chicago police officer, saying: “We cannot go on like this.”
She also put the death in a national context, lamenting “the loss of so many young African Americans taken too soon” in a statement released on Twitter as Chicago continued to simmer in the wake of protests on the night the video was made public.
The city is braced for further demonstrations over the footage of 17-year-old Laquan being gunned down as he jaywalked near law enforcement, and a white Chicago officer was charged with murder in connection with the death.
“The family of Laquan McDonald and the people of Chicago deserve justice and accountability,” Clinton said.
She added that the country needed to grapple with broader questions.
“The mothers I met recently in Chicago are right: we cannot go on like this. All over America, there are police officers honorably doing their duty, demonstrating how to protect the public without resorting to unnecessary force. We need to learn from and build on those examples,” she said.
Obama reiterated this, asking Americans to “be thankful for the overwhelming majority of men and women in uniform who protect our communities with honor”.
He added: “I’m personally grateful to the people of my hometown for keeping protests peaceful.”
In Chicago, prosecutors dropped aggravated battery charges against activist and poet Malcolm London, who was arrested during demonstrations overnight on Tuesday.
“You are free to go,” judge Peggy Chiampas told London on Wednesday afternoon after he appeared in a packed courthouse.