POLL: Should Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Step Down After Laquan McDonald Video?—
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Seventeen-year-old McDonald was shot 16 times in about 15 seconds by police officer Jason Van Dyke over a year ago. But the officer was not arrested until 13 months after the shooting in what protesters called a cover-up designed to ensure Emanuel’s re-election. The mayor won a second-term in April following a contentious run-off election.
The protests came after a judge recently ordered the release of police dashcam recordings, following legal challenges from local journalists. The video showed the execution-style killing of the teen, who was shot more than ten times by Van Dyke after he fell to the ground. The shooting gave new breath to ongoing protests against police brutality in cities across the nation.
Outrage over the shooting ricocheted from the police department to the mayor’s office to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez‘s office, as protesters demanded transparency about who knew what and when. They also raised questions about the timing of the $5 million deal the city made with McDonald’s family, which was still being hammered out on April 7, when Emanuel won the run-off.
While protesters celebrated McCarthy’s departure after the McDonald scandal and the high-profile death of Tyshawn Lee, they also called for the resignations of Emanuel, President Barack Obama‘s former White House Chief of Staff, who became the city’s first Jewish mayor in 2011; and Alvarez, who in 2008 became the city’s first female and first Hispanic state’s attorney.
But Emanuel said on Wednesday that he will not quit. He also denied trying to cover up a dashcam video, according to NBC News.
“We have a process,” Emanuel told reporters from Politico in an interview before an audience in Chicago, reports the news station. “It’s called the election. The voters spoke. I”ll be held responsible for my actions and the decisions I made.”
Some powerful names are also calling for Alvarez to step down, but she refused, telling ABC 7 the probe was delayed because her office was cooperating with federal investigators.
“I will not be bullied by politicians who do not have a full understanding of the facts of the investigation,” she told the news outlet in an email statement.
The 2016 primary election will be held on March 15, 2016 and Cook County Democrats have refused to endorse Alvarez amid complaints, including some who claim she is reluctant to prosecute police or politically connected suspects, reports ABC 7.
“I think the way in which she’s run the office is disgraceful,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle told ABC 7.
The Rev. Al Sharpton, who rallied on Tuesday with director Spike Lee in New York City after the premiere of Chi-Raq, said debating whether the first-degree murder charge against Van Dyke is an overreaction to uproar over the shooting is a distraction.
“The fact that it took her 400 days to prosecute” raises the question of whether she is the one “who ought to be doing the charging,” he said Monday at his Harlem-based National Action Network. “[New York] Gov. Andrew Cuomo worked with this organization and others to bring about a special prosecutor when there is a fatality [involving police].
“I’ve told Chicago’s National Action Network that we need to be fighting to bring the Cuomo model to Illinois,” he continued. “What [the prosecutor] charged is insignificant. What is significant is the same person that fumbled the ball is now being given the ball and asked to score when it looked like she was waiting for the clock to run out in the game.”
Should Rahm and Alvarez step down?