Chicago State’s Attorney Withdraws From Laquan McDonald Case

After several flip-flops, Attorney Anita Alvarez has finally decided to step down from the case she never wanted to prosecute.

Cook County State’s attorney has asked the judge on Thursday to appoint a special prosecutor to take over the case against the white Chicago police officer, who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, the Washington Post reports.

Anita Alvarez, who lost her re-election bid earlier this year, took civil rights attorneys and everyone by surprise when she filed the motion to let another attorney take over the prosecution of Jason Van Dyke, the police officer she took more than a year to charge despite availability of overwhelming evidence against him.

The embattled prosecutor’s handling of the case drew nationwide outrage and criticism from activists and civil rights attorneys, who accuse her of covering up for the police department.
Alvarez, who is expected to leave office this December, cited her recent election loss as the main reason for her decision to step down from the case.

“I believe that the results of the recent election and the impending transition of this office make this the best and most responsible decision,” Alvarez said in a statement.

“While it is has not been an easy decision, I believe that it is the right one because it will help to avoid unnecessary legal delays and provide continuity in the handling of this very important and complicated case,” she added.

The coalition of attorneys and activists, who pushed for Alvarez’s removal from the case, is hopeful that Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan’s June 2 decision would include an independent prosecutor, who has no affiliations with the offices of Alvarez and the Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

So many factors other than what Alvarez mentioned in her statement might have affected her decision to withdraw, but whatever they are, we are just happy she will no longer have anything to do with the case again.

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