Chicago Mayor (and former Obama Chief of Staff) Rahm Emanuel has apologized to Chicago’s city council for the October 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times. Compounding things is that McDonald is black while Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot and killed McDonald is white.
Emanuel’s apology simply isn’t good enough. I say this because of the concerted efforts of the City of Chicago to block the release of the video showing McDonald’s death. The City denied 15 FOIA requests for the video. The video was finally released last month following the ruling of a Cook County judge. When the video was made public it discredited the contention of Chicago Police that McDonald had lunged at them with a knife. In fact, McDonald was in retreat. Emanuel bears responsibility both for the delay in releasing the tape and not being forthcoming about what happened that night.
It must be remembered that McDonald’s shooting occurred in the midst of a difficult re-election campaign for Emanuel. The support received by fellow Democrat Jesus “Chuy” Garcia during the Democratic primary last February was enough to deny Emanuel 50% of the vote and force an April runoff (which Emanuel won by double digits). But had the video been made public during the campaign then there’s a good chance Emanuel would have been toast. Which is amazing for a city where the dead are known to cast ballots. Emanuel can deny it all he wants, but he had plenty of motivation to keep the video under wraps. So long as this doubt exists, Emanuel’s tenure has irrevocably been compromised. For all parties concerned, Emanuel ought to resign.
Of course, Emanuel’s resignation won’t cure Chicago of its rot. Look up corruption in the dictionary and it will say, “Please see Chicago.” Municipal corruption in Chicago didn’t begin with Rahm Emanuel and it won’t end with him. But Chicago is fast becoming America’s murder capital and so long as Emanuel remains in office there is no prospect for improvement in either performance or public confidence. That job would be better left to someone else.
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