Van Dyke deserves leniency not race persecution

Van Dyke deserves leniency not race persecution
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Van Dyke deserves leniency not race persecution

The decision by Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul to pursue a more severe sentence for former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting of drugged-up, armed thug Laquan McDonald is a travesty and a slap against not only families who seek safety and protection from criminals but an embrace of criminals. Criminals like McDonald should be the focus of public safety. Van Dyke has been punished enough.

By Ray Hanania

I’m not afraid to stand up and defend Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago Police officer convicted and sentenced in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

McDonald was an armed and drugged up thug. He was a threat to not just the White people that many of his champions have pilloried in reverse racist hatred and anger, but he was a part of the criminal environment in which many African Americans live in Chicago.

The fact is that McDonald’s race is irrelevant to the crimes he committed including that night when he walked down the middle of the street brandishing a knife and refusing to listen to the repeated pleas by Chicago Police to drop his weapon and surrender.

Instead, we’re being told by activists and the news media that Laquan McDonald was the “victim” of “police brutality. Instead, we’re being told that McDonald was from a bad, fatherless childhood. Instead, we’re being told that McDonald was a student who had an educational future, pictured constantly wearing his graduation cap and gown.



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Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his wife. Support his family on his GoFundMe Page at

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his wife. Support his family on his GoFundMe Page at

But those images belie the truth and are used to exaggerate Van Dyke’s actions.

Van Dyke was properly sentenced for his crime. The crime wasn’t shooting McDonald, a criminal thug whose death is being cloaked in reverse racism and biased news media coverage. The crime was the excessive response to McDonald’s crime.

Now, newly elected Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is also jumping into the movement to denounce the Chicago Police and all Police around the country who have to work in crime-ridden communities and risk their lives trying to protect a community that refuses to protect itself or stand up to the criminals. Raoul is seeking to punish Van Dyke more, appealing his sentence to 6 and one-half years in prison and seeking to impose a longer sentence.

A longer sentence would be an injustice. Raoul’s actions are not those of a law enforcement officer seeking to right a wrong. They are the actions of a politician seeking to pander to the twisted logic of the activists who hate the police and who have whitewashed McDonald’s crimes, painting him into the innocent victim that he was not.

Instead of seeking his vengeful appeal, Raoul should instead prosecute McDonald’s relatives, relatives who did nothing to control him or provide him with the kind of family leadership that might have saved his life. They could have prevented him from using drugs, carrying a weapon and ignoring the orders of Chicago Police who everyday work in crime-ridden neighborhoods only to be attacked for enforcing the law.

Raoul should file charges against the corrupt prison system in America that has more and more been turned into havens to protect criminals rather than as prisons to punish heinous crimes. Yes, there are 2.3 million people in prisons around the country and some may be innocent. But the vast majority are criminals who deserve every day of the sentences they have received. The violent attack against Van Dyke this past week at the federal prison where he was taken with no notice to his family or lawyers in Danbury, Connecticut is an example of that prison system corruption.

Instead of persecuting Van Dyke for racist political reasons, as he is doing, Raoul should seek tougher punishments against criminals like the man who murdered Chicago Police Officer Paul Bauer.

None of the whining news media have spent time asking if Bauer’s accused killer, Shomari Legghette, a four-time felon, arrested at the scene and indicted on 56 felony counts of first-degree murder, armed violence, and weapons and drug offenses.

Prosecutors intend to seek a life sentence for Legghette, 44, if he is convicted of Bauer’s killing. But Legghette has pled “not guilty.”

Why doesn’t Raoul investigate why Legghette was even on the street considering his criminal history?

Legghette is just one criminal of hundreds who have committed violent crimes with weapons. And he was who McDonald would have become had he not been taken down that night at 10 pm on Oct. 20, 2014. That was the direction in which his criminal record and his conduct was leading him.

Instead of justice, we’re seeing the O.J. Simpson Syndrome. Racism at its worst directed not at the criminals but at the people who risk their lives everyday to protect people who sometimes do nothing to help stop the violence that consumes their neighborhoods. I don’t care about criminals like Laquan McDonald. But I do care about our Police who sacrifice so much and risk their lives each and every day defending our society against crime.

A GoFundMe Page has been set up for Van Dyke’s family. I donated. You should, too.

The website is

Don’t let the criminals win. Donating is a good way to show your support for Van Dyke, for the Chicago Police and to make a statement against Chicago’s rising crime.

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning political and humor columnist who analyzes American and Middle East politics, and life in general. He is an author of several books.

"I write about three topics, the Middle East, politics and life in general. I often take my life experiences and offer them in an entertaining way to readers, and I take on the toughest topics like the Israel-Palestine conflict and don't pull any punches about what I feel is fair. But, my priority is always about writing the good story."

Hanania covered Chicago Politics and Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992. Hanania began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He later published “The National Arab American Times” newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East food stores in 48 American States (2004-2007).

Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at, and at, and at He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper,, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.

The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.

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