Originally Appeared on TheseDays.News (August 2016)It’s a scene that’s becoming all too familiar in these turbulent times: a large group of protesters clogging downtown streets, disrupting corporate commerce and planting themselves on the ground with their hands up. Once again our city’s voice stand up for a fallen friend, brother, son as thousands poured onto Michigan Ave this past Sunday to stand up against the latest brutal police shooting, this one that left 18-year-old Paul O’Neil dead. Once again the Chicago Police Department trotted out a list of reasons to try and explain. Once again Rahm Emanuel pursed his lips, gripped the podium and dipped his head to the floor in a gesture that has come to embody the greater mentality on the subject. And once again, another young man didn’t come home because of the itchy trigger finger of one of those lives in blue. With hearts heavy and spirits waning, the pain is once again palpable.
UPDATE: Following his bond hearing the morning of Wednesday November 25th, all charges against Malcolm London have been dropped.
By now you’ve heard about the release by the Chicago Police Department of a video showing the last moments of Laquan McDonald’s life before he was gunned down sixteen times by police officer Jason Van Dyke. Immediately following the video’s release, protests sprung up all around the city’s Loop and in the process of peaceful pushback against Police turned controversial as the CPD allegedly attacked and took activist/poet/artist Malcolm London into custody.
Charges pending against London currently include aggravated battery of a police officer which stems from Police saying that he struck an officer, an allegation that has not been corroborated by anyone on the scene. London is accused of striking an officer in the 100 block of East Balbo Drive as police blocked protesters from marching across the bridge and has since been transported to the police precinct at 26th and California Ave., where he will appear at a bond hearing today at 1:30 p.m.
The arrest is the latest in a series of callous and seemingly uncalculated moves by the bungled Chicago Police Department who pushed to have the video kept from the public ahead of its release and has faced criticism from the media regarding assertions from business owners that officers deleted video footage from nearby surveillance cameras the night of the shooting. The arrest of London, one of the city’s brightest stars who has gone as far as lobbying the United Nations on his hometown’s behalf against police misconduct, is a furtherance of the actions of those in City Hall and beyond. Freelance journalist Brandon Smith, whose Freedom of Information Act request prompted the release of the video, was barred from the press conference from Rahm Emanuel and Gerry McCarthy that pre-empted the video release.
Reports on the ground from last night have detailed a markedly different story around the arrest of London than what the media and police have put forward thus far.
According to Ric Wilson who was in the crowd with London as he was wrapping up the protest on Balbo said that a “random white dude who we thought was a cop threw a smoke bomb in the crowd. It sat there for a few minutes and then they framed Malcolm for doing it and snatched him up once everyone wasn’t close enough to snatch him back. Then they surrounded him and blocked us from him physically.”
A seasoned activist and veteran of protests across the world, it is fairly certain that London would not be at any protest throwing smoke bombs or doing anything that what we all know him for. Joining him in the protests were artists and activists from across the city including Vic Mensa who stood by his words and continued to position himself as a leader in his city by participating in the protests throughout. Ferrari Sheppard has been keeping in touch with London and organizers assembling outside of the police station on California and 26th.
[from DNAInfo]: At a press conference at City Hall Wednesday, Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) singled out London by name, and said he wanted to “applaud the youth in our community for last night’s actions, particularly the young man I mentioned previously, Malcolm London, who has been held in jail unjustly.”
“He needs to be released today, so that he can continue this activism,” Sawyer said, alleging that London was “arrested on some trumped up charges.”
We’ll update this story as we get more information from London’s bond hearing. You can donate to help raise bail for him below.