A Broad Coalition Files Petition Requesting Special Prosecutor
By Ken Hare
Chicago Defender Staff Writer
A broad coalition of community activist, politician and law firms have come together and filed a petition requesting that Anita Alvarez be removed from the McDonald case and a special prosecutor appointed. The petition seeks to have Alvarez “disqualified from representing the people.”
“We make this request because Anita Alvarez cannot discharge her duties to the people because she is so aligned with the Fraternal Order of Police,” said Sheila Bedi, a law professor at Northwestern University Law School and an attorney at the MacArthur Justice Center. “The Cook County justice system regularly, every day, as we speak churns black and brown men through the system, many for minor non-violent offenses. Yet this very system ground to a halt when it came to holding accountable the police officers who were responsible for the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.”
The group of attorneys — featuring Locke Bowman, the director for the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, Bedi, and G. Flint Taylor, a founding partner of the People’s Law Office —claimed Alvarez should not be allowed to prosecute Officer Jason Van Dyke or any other Chicago police officers who “participated in the falsification of reports, the destruction of evidence, the manipulation and coercion of witnesses and other possible misconduct in the aftermath of the fatal shooting.”
Alvarez responded by stating that “she doesn’t believe any mistakes were made,” and that “moreover, that case has already resulted in an indictment, and has been assigned to ASA Risa Lanier and ASA Lynn McCarthy, two highly skilled prosecutors with vast experience prosecuting violent offenders and complex cases.”
Alderman Howard Brookings has publicly stated that the Black caucus which represents all the Black Aldermen in city council stated that they have “no faith” in Alvarez’s office prosecuting the police.