CHICAGO — Activists will occupy a block in front of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse during the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald.
Speaking at a Tuesday news conference, organizer Will Calloway said he received a permit to occupy California Avenue between 26th and 27th streets throughout the murder trial of Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old McDonald in 2014. Van Dyke’s trial is set to begin Sept. 5.
“Any- and everybody who wants to see justice for Laquan McDonald, we all ask you to come out and join us starting Sept. 5 at this very location,” said Calloway, who pushed for the release of a video showing the shooting of McDonald. “We will be here every day throughout the duration of the trial.”
Groups of activists from a variety of organizations — including Black Lives Matter, GoodKids MadCity and Black Youth Project 100 — will join in the occupation.
The organizers will lead non-violent protests and focus on rapid mobilization, sustainable demonstration, social and policy change and protecting the image of McDonald, Calloway said. The organizers said they will shut down the street and surrounding area if necessary.
Calloway said activists will also go out into Chicago’s communities and work with neighbors to ensure that, if Van Dyke is acquitted, residents express themselves peacefully and don’t participate in riots.