Smith has been published in The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast and other publications and won the Izzy Award with activist Jamie Kalven in 2016 for their work in challenging the original story told by the city about McDonald’s death.
Following McDonald’s death, Smith said, he filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act for a video of the shooting that had not been released to the public.
On Oct. 24, 2014, McDonald, 17, was seen by police officers walking erratically down a street and holding a knife. Officer Jason Van Dyke left his patrol car and, within seconds, began shooting at McDonald. He shot him a total of 16 times and was convicted earlier this month for second–degree murder.
Approximately 70 people attended the event, which was held in the Emerson Suites.
Smith said he became interested in the McDonald case after Slate Magazine published an article by Jamie Kalven in February 2015.