• Press Release

Amnesty International USA Calls on Illinois to Reform Lethal Force Law

November 24, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: Amanda Simon, [email protected]

(NEW YORK, NY) – The Cook County State’s Attorney today charged Officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. On a judge’s orders, the Chicago Police Department must release a dash cam video depicting the death of McDonald, who was shot 16 times by Officer Van Dyke in October 2014, by Nov. 25. The Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation have also opened an investigation into McDonald’s death.  

“As Chicago braces itself for the release of this video, urgent action is needed to curb the use of lethal force by the police and ensure accountability,” said Steven W. Hawkins, executive director of Amnesty International USA. “Lethal force must only be used as an absolute last resort. But that is not what is happening. And all too often, it is young black men like Laquan who pay the ultimate price.

“We need the president and the Department of Justice to support the creation of a national commission to undertake a review of the use of lethal force by police, as well as a review of state and federal laws, training and practices. All state laws on the use of force and firearms, including Illinois’, must be brought in line with international standards.”

In June, Amnesty International USA issued a report on the use of lethal force by law enforcement.

Follow Steven W. Hawkins on Twitter: www.twitter.com/StevenWHawkins

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning global movement of more than 7 million people in over 160 countries who campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.