On Laquan McDonald's birthday, calls for peaceful protests after verdict

As the trial of Jason Van Dyke moves towards a conclusion, police and community leaders are preparing for protests.

It's been close to four years since Laquan McDonald was shot and killed.

“Instead of celebrating of young man starting his life, we are here fighting for justice,” said Reverend Ira Acree.

Even amid rain fall Tuesday night, wet and emotional backers of Laquan McDonald came together at the place where the officer charged with his murder is being tried, to sing “happy birthday.”

Tuesday was Laquan McDonald’s birthday. 17-years-old when he was killed, he would have been 21.

Instead, Officer Van Dyke is now standing trial for his shooting death with the city's activist community watching.

“Race was neglected, to some extent, by the prosecution, and therefore, remain only cautiously optimistic,” said Eric Russell.

A trial is an opportunity Tyshondra Barnes says never came after she says both her cousin and father were shot to death by police.

“I could imagine how my cousin felt at the time…How many times he was shot,” said Barnes.

Last week, prosecutors presented their case at trial and this week, the defense did the same.

Instrumental in getting the police dash cam video of McDonald’s shooting released, activist William Calloway released a PSA calling for peaceful protests in case of acquittal, even reaching out to city gang members for peace.

"The black community, it's time for us to band together and demand justice,” the PSA stated.

“We want them to join our fight for justice for Laquan McDonald,” Calloway said.

The city's police superintendent is also expecting peace.

“If people have a different opinion and they protest, we expect it to be peaceful,” Supt. Eddie Johnson said.

Testimony is expected to resume Wednesday with the defense contusing to claim Van Dyke shot McDonald in self-defense.