Quick Hit Ellyn Fortino Friday December 11th, 2015, 2:41pm

Family Of Laquan McDonald Calls For Alvarez's Ouster, White House Summit On Police Brutality

The family of Laquan McDonald wants Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign and is calling for a White House summit on police brutality to be held in Chicago.

"I hold Anita Alvarez accountable," McDonald's great uncle, Pastor Marvin Hunter, said surrounded by relatives during a Friday news conference at Grace Memorial Baptist Church.

He stopped short of calling for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's resignation.

"We have more of a problem in the office of the state's attorney as it pertains to Laquan McDonald ... and the people that suffered this injustice than we do in the mayor's office," he said. "And here's why: Anita Alvarez has forfeited the moral high ground, and she's lost the trust of the people of the county of Cook and the city of Chicago, and so the right thing for her to do is to resign."

Speaking on behalf of the family, Hunter also thanked those who have been demanding justice for McDonald during daily protests in Chicago. 

"We're here today because there's a problem in the city of Chicago when an officer who has sworn to serve and protect can gun down a citizen for no other reason than he was black," added Hunter, who said McDonald was a "big boy, but he was a teddy bear." 

"He wasn't a gangster," Hunter stressed. "Laquan was the kind of kid when he saw you, he greeted you with a hug. He tried to make you laugh. He was a jokester. That's who he was. He was the life of the party."

The family spoke out more than two weeks after the court-ordered release of dash-cam video showing Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in the middle of Pulaski Road. McDonald's relatives did not want the grisly dash-cam footage released.

McDonald's mother was not at the press conference because "she's hurting and traumatized by the constant reminder of the senseless death of her son," Hunter said.

"The thing that we need to be doing now is saying what's next? And what's next is, we need to change a corrupt culture that caused this to happen in the first place," he added. 

Hunter requested that President Barack Obama hold a summit on gun violence, urban poverty and police brutality.

"I want it to be a White House summit convened here in the community" of North Lawndale, where McDonald was from, Hunter said. 

The family called for action at both the federal and locals levels on police accountability reforms and greater investments in underresourced neighborhoods. 

"What we're feeling in Chicago is the real feeling of America in itself, and that is injustice towards people of color and poor people in this country," he said, adding that the "only way to keep things like what has happened to Laquan from happening is we must have the proper resources for economic development, for housing, for health care, for mental health."

Emauel has come under fire, with protesters demanding his resignation, over his handling of the McDonald case. The city suppressed the dash-cam video for 13 months until a judge ordered its release. It took Alvarez just as long to bring first-degree murder charges against Van Dyke.

Alvarez has pushed back on her critics, saying her office "conducted a meticulous and thorough investigation to build the strongest possible first-degree murder case against Officer Van Dyke." 

Emanuel, meanwhile, apologized for the Laquan McDonald shooting on Wednesday, the same day a bill was introduced in the state legislature that would create a process to recall Chicago's mayor.

The mayor's office responded to the legislation with a statement Thursday.

"We understand there's a desire by some to insert politics into this discussion, but the mayor's focus is not on his own personal politics," mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said in a statement. "His focus is on the residents of this city and finally and fully addressing the issue of police accountability, which has challenged Chicago for decades. He is energized by the challenge in front of us, and committed to driving real solutions for our city."

Police accountability protests continued in Chicago Thursday. This afternoon, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Cook County Commissioner Rickard Boykin and other community and faith leaders held a "march for justice" around City Hall.

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