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'Change Is Needed': Family of Laquan McDonald Speaks Publicly for First Time Since Video Release

The family called on the president to convene a federal summit in North Lawndale, the Chicago neighborhood where McDonald was from, to address police violence and brutality

'Change Is Needed': McDonald Family Speaks Out

Family members of Laquan McDonald thanked those who have marched in Chicago demanding justice in the 17-year-old's shooting death at the hands of a Chicago police officer and called for change "from the top down" during a Friday press conference. NBC 5's Carol Marin reports. (Published Friday, Dec. 11, 2015)

Family members of Laquan McDonald on Friday thanked those who have marched in Chicago demanding justice in the 17-year-old's shooting death at the hands of a Chicago police officer and called for change "from the top down."

"I think that change is needed. And change needs to start not just from a local level… but I think change needs to start from the top down," said Pastor Marvin Hunt, McDonald's great-uncle, who spoke on behalf of the family during a press conference Friday. "Because what we’re feeling in Chicago is the real feeling of america in itself and that is injustice toward people of color.”

Hunter, from the Grace Memorial Baptist Church, called on the president to convene a federal summit in North Lawndale, the Chicago neighborhood where McDonald was from, to address police violence and brutality. 

“Laquan McDonald represents thousands of Laquan McDonalds — same black skin, same poverty, same social and economic injustice that is put upon them, but with different names and different ages."

Dashcam video was released late last month showing McDonald being shot 16 times while apparently walking away from police during an incident on Oct. 20, 2014. The officer involved in the shooting, Jason Van Dyke, has since been charged with murder. 

Hunter described McDonald as "a big boy," but said he was not a "gangster."

"He didn’t fit in his personality the profile that Jason Van Dyke had of him, and all black boys, in his mind," Hunter said.

For days, hundreds of protesters have shut down the streets of Chicago to rally for the resignations of Emanuel and Alvarez in response to the shooting video. 

"These people are marching because time and time again black people and people of color and poor people are being mistreated by this legal system here called the Chicago police," Hunter said.

State Rep. LaShawn Ford, a Chicago Democrat, filed a bill Wednesday in Springfield to allow for the recall of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. House Bill 4356 would set up the mechanism to initiate a recall election.

In response to the proposed legislation, the mayor’s office issued a statement saying Emanuel is "energized" by the challenges in front of him.

Alvarez also expressed last week that she was firm on her intention to stay in office, despite the growing cries for her to step down.

"I am going to continue to be Cook County State's Attorney, and there's no way that I would ever even consider resigning," Alvarez said.

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