ESPN's Bomani Jones Cuts Straight To The Heart Of The Laquan McDonald Killing

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Last night, the Chicago Police Department released footage of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black boy, to death. McDonald had a small knife, but was moving away from Van Dyke at a safe distance and posed no threat. Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times over the course of about 15 seconds. For 13 of those 15 seconds, McDonald was on the ground.

The killing took place on Oct. 20, 2014, but only last week did a Cook County judge rule that the video was not exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and order the footage to be released. After the ruling, Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. This was a 13-month coverup.


Today, ESPN’s Dan Le Batard invited Bomani Jones onto his radio show, where Jones addressed the McDonald killing. He didn’t hold back.

“At some point we have to raise the question of whether or not police killing black people like this is not accidental,” Jones said, “and this is kind of built into the equation, built into the design.”

He went on to explain the phenomenon of people suddenly conjuring concern about black-on-black crime after police killings are publicized, including blacks who cling to respectability politics, before smacking down anyone who would attempt to explain this unjustifiable murder as anything but.

Here’s a particularly powerful passage from Jones ...

“It’s worth noting that people are really concerned with crime in those ways and the whole idea of keeping us safe don’t live anywhere near where the crime actually happened. And what they’ve found is that people’s belief in crime and being tough on it and stuff like that and empowering police, they are correlated to their opposition to civil rights. It has nothing to do with crime or how crime affects their lives. They don’t care about that. This is just another way to hammer black people.”


... but the entire interview is worth your time.