McDon­ald’s great-un­cle: Fam­ily not of­fended by cam­paign ad

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAND - By Gre­gory Pratt [email protected]­bune.com Twit­ter @roy­al­pratt

In re­sponse to crit­i­cism of Cook County Board Pres­i­dent Toni Preck­win­kle’s may­oral cam­paign over an ad focused on the Laquan McDon­ald shoot­ing, McDon­ald’s great-un­cle said Fri­day that the fam­ily of the slain teenager was not of­fended by the com­mer­cial.

Dur­ing a news con­fer­ence at Grace Me­mo­rial Bap­tist Church on the West Side, the Rev. Marvin Hunter said he did not know Preck­win­kle had taken ac­tion to re­lease to the me­dia the au­topsy re­sults on McDon­ald, who was shot 16 times by a po­lice of­fi­cer in 2014. But Hunter said it was “good to learn” there were lo­cal of­fi­cials con­cerned about the fam­ily.

“When I saw this par­tic­u­lar com­mer­cial, I saw it as Toni telling her story (and) she cer­tainly has a right to tell what role she played,” said Hunter, whom Preck­win­kle’s cam­paign quoted prais­ing the can­di­date in a news re­lease an­nounc­ing the new ad.

Hunter said he has al­ways tried not to re­duce his nephew’s death to some­one else get­ting a job or win­ning elected of­fice. But he said he thanks ev­ery­one who worked dili­gently to pres­sure lo­cal gov­ern­ment over the 2014 shoot­ing.

Many oth­ers have taken “own­er­ship” of their role in re­veal­ing the facts be­hind McDon­ald’s case, Hunter noted.

The fam­ily did not know Preck­win­kle’s cam­paign was mak­ing the com­mer­cial, he said, un­til staff reached out be­fore it aired to show him the video. Hunter said he was not asked ex­plic­itly whether he was OK with it but got the sense that Preck­win­kle would not have run the ad with­out his con­sent, which he gave. Hunter also he said he would vote for Preck­win­kle.

Ea­ger to change the sub­ject in the may­oral race af­ter spend­ing a week talk­ing about her re­la­tion­ship with em­bat­tled South­west Side Ald. Ed­ward Burke, Preck­win­kle re­leased the ad Wed­nes­day. On Thurs­day she called a news con­fer­ence to ad­dress fel­low can­di­date Garry McCarthy, who was po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent at the time of the shoot­ing, af­ter he crit­i­cized the ad.

By then, Preck­win­kle was fac­ing crit­i­cism from young ac­tivists and oth­ers who said she was try­ing to take too much credit for bring­ing the al­leged McDon­ald cover-up to light. The Rev. Michael Pfleger, pas­tor at St. Sabina Church, crit­i­cized Preck­win­kle’s ad, say­ing it dis­re­spects the con­tri­bu­tions of young ac­tivists who took to the streets to bring at­ten­tion to the McDon­ald case.

For­mer fed­eral pros­e­cu­tor Lori Lightfoot said in a state­ment that Preck­win­kle’s use of the McDon­ald video “proves she is not ready to lead.” And pol­icy consultant Amara Enyia re­leased a state­ment about Preck­win­kle’s ad say­ing no­body should take credit for a com­mu­nity-led ef­fort.

But on Fri­day, Hunter said he did not agree with the crit­ics and called on ac­tivists who are pas­sion­ate about McDon­ald’s case to be at the crim­i­nal court­house next week.

Ja­son Van Dyke, the Chicago po­lice of­fi­cer who shot McDon­ald, is sched­uled for sen­tenc­ing. A judge’s rul­ing also is ex­pected in a con­spir­acy trial against three cur­rent and for­mer Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers.

“Let’s not ex­pend any time as to whether or not Toni should be mayor or should not be mayor,” he said. “This is not about pol­i­tics. This is about jus­tice for Laquan.”

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