Independent Journalist to Discuss Laquan McDonald Case at Ithaca College

By Dave Maley, October 23, 2018
Izzy Award winner Brandon Smith returns for talk on traditional media missteps.

A journalist whose work helped lead to the arrest of a white Chicago police officer for killing an African-American teenager will discuss “What the Traditional Chicago Media Missed in the Laquan McDonald Case” at Ithaca College on Wednesday, Oct. 24. Free and open to the public, the presentation by Brandon Smith will be held at 7 p.m. in the Campus Center’s Emerson Suites. It is sponsored by the Park Center for Independent Media.

Smith’s talk will focus on the power of independent journalism in exposing police brutality and racial injustice. In October of 2014, McDonald was fatally shot by Jason Van Dyke after he allegedly lunged at the officer with a knife. Smith challenged the official story and fought for the release of dashcam video. After 13 months — and on the brink of the video’s public release — Van Slyke was charged with first-degree murder. Earlier this month, Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — once each for the number of times he shot McDonald.

Smith and fellow journalist Jamie Kalven were recognized by the Park Center for Independent Media with an Izzy Award in 2016 for their efforts to expose the police cover-up.

Smith has been a journalist in the investigative/accountability tradition for more than a decade, and has concentrated primarily on police accountability since 2014. Published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast, and In These Times, Smith has also written about pollution and public health issues, runaway military spending, and mass surveillance.

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