Activists mark Laquan McDonald's 23rd birthday as fight for police reform continues

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Activists, community organizers and residents gathered to mark what would have been Laquan McDonald's 23rd birthday as their fight for police reform continues.

His death is still their rallying cry. McDonald's legacy, and his shooting death by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke nearly six years ago, changed the course of policing in this city.

"We've seen some substantive changes in our city, but we have a very, very long way to go, without a doubt," said community organizer William Calloway.

Laquan McDonald shooting , Jason Van Dyke trial timeline

As the people who fought to convict his killer celebrate what would have been his birthday, they're also organizing once again after the Louisville police officers who shot and killed Breonna Taylor walked way, unindicted for her death.

"Breonna Taylor hits differently, because it was because of the death of a black woman that I got activated. It was because of the death of Rakiyah Boyd in 2012 by a Chicago police officer that I even got activated," Calloway said.

"The justice systems have not changed, the value of life, Black lives, haven't changed," said activist Amber Leeks.

Breonna Taylor's family speaks following grand jury's decision, demands release of evidence

Taylor's mother, too devastated to speak Friday in Kentucky, conveyed that same sense of abandonment.

"I was reassured on Wednesday of why I have no faith in the legal system and the police and the law that are not made to protect us black and brown people," said Bianca Austin, Taylor's aunt.
Copyright © 2020 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.