Journalist Sues to Get Police & State’s Attorney Records of Laquan McDonald Shooting Investigations

CHICAGO — The independent journalist who forced the release of the infamous Laquan McDonald police shooting video has sued Chicago Police, the Independent Police Review Authority, and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to force release of their investigations into the police killing of the 17-year-old.

The suits were filed on behalf of independent journalist Brandon Smith, who along with journalist Jamie Kalven, previously helped force the public release of the notorious police dashcam video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke fire 16 shots into McDonald.

Smith is represented by attorney Matt Topic of Loevy & Loevy Attorneys at Law, and Craig Futterman of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School, who were also his attorneys in the Freedom of Information Act suit that forced the release of the police shooting video. “Despite our repeated good faith efforts to get the information from the CPD, IPRA, and the State’s Attorney’s Office without litigation, we have been met with obfuscations and brick walls,” said Topic.

“The public has a right to know why Chicago Police, IPRA, and State’s Attorney Alvarez responded so slowly to the police misconduct and lawbreaking evident in the video,” said Smith. “What was their thought process in doing so? Would they have ever instituted any oversight, let alone criminal proceedings, but for the forced release of the video?”

“Public access to information about the actions of our public officials, elected and otherwise, is precisely the circumstance our state’s FOIA law was designed for, especially when the government takes a life,” said Topic. “Apparently that message still is not being heard.”

Copies of the suits can be found here and here.

Loevy & Loevy is one of the nation’s largest civil rights law firms, and over the past decade has won more multi-million dollar jury verdicts than any other civil rights law firm in the entire country.

The mission of the Mandel Legal Aid Clinic of the University of Chicago Law School is to teach students effective advocacy skills, professional ethics, and the effect of legal institutions on the poor; to examine and apply legal theory while serving as advocates for people typically denied access to justice; and to reform legal education and the legal system to be more responsive to the interests of the poor.

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