Rush calls for special prosecutor in Laquan McDonald case

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Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush is calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the Laquan McDonald case. (WLS)

Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush is calling for the appointment of a special prosecutor to handle the Laquan McDonald case.

Rush says he has no confidence in Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Rush appeared to back off his earlier call for Alvarez to resign, saying it's important that her office not lead the prosecution of accused Officer Jason Van Dyke.

"I'm asking her to step aside and allow a special prosecutor to take over this prosecution of Officer Van Dyke," Rush said.

The congressman told reporters he had no confidence the State's Attorney's Office would get a guilty verdict against Van Dyke despite having the McDonald shooting on video.

To make his case, Rush showed another video made in 2010 of an alleged African American shoplifter Anthony Kyser choked to death by a store manager on the city's Southwest Side. It's a case Alvarez decided not to charge.

"Nobody gets prosecuted. How can that happen," Rush said.

Rush's distrust of Cook County prosecutors goes back to 1969, when Edward Hanrahan was State's Attorney. Rush's then-Black Panther Party colleagues Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated in their West Side apartment, shot to death on this very date 46 years ago in a hail of bullets fired by Chicago Police.

"There was a cover-up. We had to get a special prosecutor because we could not believe Ed Hanrahan," said Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rainbow Push Coalition.

Hanharan was indicted but never convicted on a related conspiracy charge.

On Friday afternoon, an Alvarez spokeswoman did not respond to the call for a special prosecutor. She wrote instead:

"Congressman Rush should be made aware that this matter is presently the subject on an ongoing independent investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI."

There was no comment on why the 2010 case was not prosecuted.

"Just another example of the ineptitude, the callousness of our current Cook County State's Attorney," Rush said.

For now, Alvarez's office is prosecuting Van Dyke in state court. The officer is free having posted 10 percent of his $1.5 million bond.
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