CMI to host reporter, activist

Written By Robert Berger, Staff Writer

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The Center for Media Innovation will welcome journalist Jamie Kalven on Oct. 27, where he will speak about his investigative reporting of the Chicago Police Department in regards to the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald.

“The Press Club of Western Pennsylvania was able to get in touch with Jamie and bring him on campus,” said Chelsea Pompeani, media innovation specialist for Point Park. “We work closely with them so we thought it would be great to have him speak to students and the public.”

The event is called “Right to Know: The Power of the Public Record.” On the day of the event, the center will hold two separate talks. The first is at 1 p.m. for students, and the second is at 6:30 p.m. for the public to attend. There will also be a reception at 6 p.m.

Kalven is a civil rights activist who has been involved in social justice issues since the 1970s.

In 2000, Kalven and two friends founded the nonprofit organization Invisible Institute. They have worked together in police misconduct investigations and other legal investigations for more than  16 years.

“Our main mission is to enhance the capacity of citizens to hold public institutions accountable,” said Maira Khwaja, associate director of development for The Invisible Institute. “We have multiple projects that work on that.”

In 2014, Kalven took on the city of Chicago in Kalven v. Chicago, in which Kalven won. The Invisible Institute is known for the Citizens Police Data Report Project, a website where they interpret and release police records to the public.

When Laquan Mcdonald was shot dead by Chicago police, original reports said he was shot one time in the chest after lunging towards officers. An investigation found that McDonald was walking in the opposite direction and shot sixteen times.

With the Kalven v. Chicago case victory, Kalven was able to have autopsy information and dashcam footage released to the public to show what actually occurred Oct. 20, 2014. After the footage was released, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder.

Van Dyke is still awaiting trial and faces a sentence of 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

This is the first time a Chicago Police Officer was charged with first degree murder for an on-duty fatality in 35 years. According to police records, the department fatally shot 70 people between 2010 and 2014.

“The press club has a focus this year on doing programs around issues of racial diversity and issues relating to the public’s right to know. So this fit in with what we were hoping to do this year,” said director of the Center for Media Innovation, Andrew Conte.

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