While local media may have covered them from the beginning, the protests surrounding a white Chicago police officer fatally shooting a black teenager shot into the national spotlight last fall. But activists in the Windy City had spent more than a year seeking justice for
Indeed, developments in the case came quickly after a court in November ordered the release of
They got nearly everything they fought for. On Thursday, Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan announced that he would find an outside prosecutor for the case against Van Dyke, the Associated Press reported. The officer was charged with first-degree murder within hours of the release of the shooting video that shows him firing round after round into McDonald as the
The Cook County state's attorney lost bid for re-election.
Alvarez, who will leave office next December, asked last month to step aside in Van Dyke's prosecution.
Chicago's mayor and police officials vowed policing reforms.
Alvarez wasn't the only official accused of a cover-up in the McDonald case. Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who faced heavy criticism from activists over his role in the investigation, asked for the resignation of white police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.
In April, the City Council approved Emanuel's replacement, 27-year Chicago police veteran Eddie Johnson, who is African-American. Johnson, along with a policing oversight task force, will administer sweeping police reforms that officials believe address
Federal law enforcement officials investigate Chicago police
In December, the U.S. Department of Justice launched an investigation into Chicago's police "pattern or practice" of excessive uses of force against civilians. "Building trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve is one of my highest priorities as Attorney General," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement about the probe.
The investigation and Van Dyke's trial are ongoing. It's clear that the mostly young and black Chicagoans pushing for change and police accountability in their community have successfully leveraged the movement for black lives that has swept the nation in the last few years.