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Police Stunned By Malcolm London's Release, Want Activist Re-Charged

By Erica Demarest | November 30, 2015 4:31pm
 Malcolm London (left) was released from bond court last week after allegedly punching a police officer during a protest.
Malcolm London (left) was released from bond court last week after allegedly punching a police officer during a protest.
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COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — The head of the Chicago Police union on Monday said charges against Malcolm London should be reinstated.

London, a well-known local activist and protestor, was arrested last week after police said he punched an on-duty officer during a protest over the shooting of Laquan McDonald. Police said the incident was caught on camera, but prosecutors on Wednesday dropped the aggravated battery charge during a bond hearing.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has remained mum on the charge. On Monday, her officer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

RELATED: Judge Tells Protester Accused of Hitting Officer He's 'Free To Go'

"I think she [Alvarez] needs to explain why the individual that struck a police officer in full uniform walked out of the courthouse" last week, Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said Monday afternoon.

"No one verified anything that officer. No one asked him if he wanted to proceed. ... He hasn't returned to work yet," Angelo said, adding that the officer still has hazy vision after allegedly being punched by London.

Angelo spoke to press inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Monday, shortly after Officer Jason Van Dyke had his bond reduced to $1.5 million.

Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder after he fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. Dashcam footage of the incident was released last week, sparking protests across the city. Van Dyke was formally charged on Nov. 24, more than a year after the shooting.

Malcolm London walks out of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse. DNAinfo/Joe Ward

Angelo on Monday said he didn't know why Alvarez dropped the charge against London. He said many have speculated it was to avoid violent protests from London's supporters.

"Well, no one wants to see the city go up," Angelo said. "This is my city as well, and everyone that's in the police department lives here. So we don't want to see our city torn apart. But we also don't want to see our officers in full uniform being targets, and having people think that it's okay to strike them."

Angelo said the officer that London allegedly punched was shocked when the charges were dropped. No one reached out to the officer for his version of event, or to learn about the seriousness of his injury, Angelo said.

"That's unprecedented," he continued. "You need to find out what's going on."

According to a police report, London punched the officer about 7:30 p.m. Nov. 24 during a Downtown protest. The officer suffered bruising, and the incident was caught on camera, the report said. London allegedly resisted arrest, pulling away from police.

London's supporters maintained his innocence, and #FreeMalcolmLondon became a national trending topic on Twitter.

Upon his release from the courthouse on Wednesday, London was swarmed by media and supporters. "I'm glad to be amongst my people," he said.

Two days later, on Friday, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said he believed London shouldn't have been released.

"Honestly, the protest went exceptionally well because of the professionalism of Chicago Police officers," McCarthy said. "You filmed it...people screaming in their faces, getting hit with spittle. Throwing objects and in one case, actually, clearly assaulting a police officer and getting cut loose from custody which shouldn't happen." 

The police union said on their website over the weekend that they believe McCarthy was "genuinely surprised and quite disappointed" when London was released. 

London was not immediately available for comment. 

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