Statement from President Southwood > ILFOP
04

 Law Should Determine Outcome of Lequan McDonald Case

           Thousands of times each day, huge metal objects crammed with people and weighing 200 tons each or more hurtle through the sky, delivering passengers safely and without incident. This fact is not news. But on those very rare occasions when an airliner crashes, that proven air travel safety record is forgotten as news media coverage of the spectacle grabs the public's attention. Suddenly, the motives, training and actions of airline professionals are scrutinized, questioned and second-guessed.

            Tens of thousands of times each day in Illinois, traffic accidents are avoided, crimes are thwarted or solved, and life-saving emergency services are rendered by the men and women of law enforcement. The daily maintenance of a safe, law-driven, free society is seldom deemed newsworthy.

            We have recently experienced the equivalent of one of those plane crashes in the world of Illinois law enforcement. It involves the release of a dash-cam video that recorded the shooting death of a man by a Chicago police officer. The video and the murder charges brought against the officer have generated intense nationwide media interest and have caused many to question the motives, training and actions of all law enforcement officers.

            The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police represents more than 32,000 active duty and retired police officers who serve the public with distinction and pride in one of the nation's most difficult and dangerous professions. Although most of us have not and will not need to fire our weapons at a suspect during our law enforcement careers, we all know that nightmare possibility exists every day we are on the job. We also know that each officer-involved shooting case involves numerous factors. The investigation into the Chicago incident must include an extremely thorough look at all of the evidence and a complete examination of the conduct and mindset of both Officer Jason Van Dyke and Laquan McDonald.   

            The Chicago shooting case is moving through the criminal justice system. To be clear with the public, the Fraternal Order of Police did not delay the video's public release. The Fraternal Order of Police did not try to tell the State's Attorney how to do her job or when to bring forward criminal charges against the officer involved. The Fraternal Order of Police did not post bond for Officer Van Dyke. The case will not be tried in the court of public opinion, where the only evidence is that disturbing video, but in a court of law, where all evidence in the case will be considered. The laws we swear as police officers to uphold will decide the outcome.

            Meanwhile, Fraternal Order of Police members will continue to fully cooperate and assist wherever needed during the ongoing investigation and legal proceedings in this case. As we recognize this to be an emotionally charged issue for everyone involved, we sincerely appreciate the peaceful manner in which the vast majority of citizens have been exercising their First Amendment rights to let their feelings be known about this case. We urge them to remember that these rights, and many others in our free society, are protected every day by the thousands of public servants who never make the headlines.     

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Legislative Committee

Your Legislative Committee

Keith Turney, Chair (Joliet)

Todd Adkisson, (Troopers)

Kevin Farrell, (Cook County)

Kevin Graham, (Chicago)

Tom Lonergan, (Chicago)

Tom McDonagh, (Chicago)

Greg Johnson, (IDOC)

Terry Trueblood(Sec. of State)

David Wickster, (Oak Park)

Chris Southwood, (IL State Lodge President)