Hundreds of Chicago Protesters Demand Mayor’s Resignation

10 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Black Lives Matter Protesters Shut Down Chicago, Call For Rahm Emanuel Resignation.

Black Lives Matter protesters are filling the streets of Chicago Wednesday, blocking traffic and disrupting the city to protest police actions relating to the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Lamon Reccord is taken into custody by Chicago police officers during a march calling for Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to resign Wednesday, Dec. 9 in Chicago. Emanuel said the city is at a “defining moment” and that Chicago needs to go through a “painful but honest reckoning” not just in the case of last year’s shooting death of Laquan McDonald, 17, but “over decades” of mounting public distrust of the city’s police department. Several hundred protesters marched through the city’s downtown loop at midday, chanting “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Rahm Emanuel has got to go,” and “Justice for Laquan.” They were flanked by police on foot and on bicycles. Emanuel called for “nothing less than complete and total reform to the system and the culture that it breeds”, and denounced a “code of silence” practiced by police for decades. “No officer should be allowed to behave as if they’re above the law just because they are responsible for upholding the law,” he said. “Permitting and protecting even the smallest acts of abuse, by a tiny fraction of our officers, leads to a culture where extreme acts of abuse are more likely, just like what happened to Laquan McDonald.” Emanuel has struggled with protests and scrutiny since late November, when the police department finally released dashcam footage of the 2014 police killing.

Protesters are critical of Emanuel, saying his office tried to keep details about the death from the public and only took action after the release of a video of the death caused a scandal. “The word must become flesh, and we’ll know the value of it then,” Rev. The mayor fired the head of Chicago police, Garry McCarthy, after the video’s release but some critics accuse Emanuel of a role in delaying the disclosure for political reasons.

On Wednesday, Emanuel noted that both internal and external reviews of the police have begun, and he pleaded with officers and civilians to confront gun violence. They should be addressed immediately.” “I welcome the engagement of the Justice Department,” Emanuel told reporters Thursday. “We have a long road ahead of us as a city, and I welcome people from many views to help us do what exactly we need to do.” We are heading 2 the North Michigan & Magnificent Mile #StopTheCops #FundBlackFutures #ResignRahm pic.twitter.com/3wlGxHaVhz — BalladOfADeadSouljah (@BaburRealer) December 9, 2015 Officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first degree murder which occurred in October of last year. Department of Justice, which announced a far-reaching civil rights investigation of the department this week. ‘‘I take responsibility for what happened because it happened on my watch. And if we’re going to fix it, I want you to understand it’s my responsibility with you,’’ Emanuel said. ‘‘But if we’re also going to begin the healing process, the first step in that journey is my step.

Last week, Emanuel said that the state attorney general was “misguided” to ask the Justice Department to step in, only to say he welcomed the review after its announcement. In terms of reform, Emanuel cited a newly created task force, which will look at the CPD’s internal affairs department and the city’s quasi-independent police oversight agency. Police and police union officials said after the shooting thatMcDonald, who was holding a knife and had PCP in his system when he was killed, lunged at Van Dyke. Before the city council on Wednesday, the mayor also made an impassioned appeal for communities and police to earn each other’s respect again. “We cannot ask young men to respect officers if officers do not respect them in kind,” he said. “The answer is no,” Emanuel said, his voice breaking. “And that is wrong. Cook County’s chief prosecutor, Anita Alvarez, admits the timing of the charges against the officer involved are to make the shooting less of a scandal.

Prosecutors announced they were charging Van Dyke on the same day that the video was released by the city, more than 13 months after McDonald was gunned down on a city street. They want to at least be able to say the officer is being charged so as to stymie outrage after people saw the video. “With release of this video it’s really important for public safety that the citizens of Chicago know that this officer is being held responsible for his actions,” she told Reuters in November. Emanuel had long resisted releasing the dashcam video, citing ongoing federal and state criminal probes, but was forced to after an independent journalist successfully sued the city for the video under the state’s Freedom of Information law.

That’s unacceptable,’’ Emanuel said, later adding that ‘‘no citizen is a second-class citizen in the city of Chicago.’’ Alderman Leslie Hairston, who is black, gave an impassioned support of Emanuel’s comments about people being treated differently because of their skin color. The man, 38-year-old Philip Coleman, died due to antipsychotic drugs he received in the hospital, a medical examiner found, but also had more than 50 bruises and abrasions, according to the Chicago Tribune. She said she was ‘‘denied access’’ to the council’s chamber Wednesday until she produced ID — ‘‘even though my picture was on the wall.’’ Her white colleagues walked in without having to show ID, said Hairston, whose ward encompasses parts of the South Side, including the University of Chicago.

A Guardian investigation exposed in February that Chicago police have the equivalent of a domestic black site where they allegedly torture detainees who they often hold illegally and keep from legal counsel. A poll published Tuesday shows that more than half of Chicagoans believe Emanuel should resign as a result of his handling of the Laquan McDonald video. In the nearly 40-minute speech, Emanuel vowed the city would not “shrink from the challenge” of making reforms needed to bolster public trust in a department that has been beset for years by allegations of torturing and beating suspects and targeting the city’s black and Latino residents.

Calling his speech ‘‘politically expedient,’’ the 74-year-old said, ‘‘I don’t want to hear anything from him except, ‘I tender my resignation.’’’ ‘‘Each time he comes home, my heart is in my throat in case he meets up with a racist cop,’’ Davis said. ‘‘We shouldn’t have to live like this.’’ The McDonald footage — ordered to be released by a judge last month and made public hours after Van Dyke was charged — set off a chain of events that captured the attention of the country. Days of protests and marches followed, including one on the busiest shopping day of the year that partially shut down the city’s most famous shopping district, Michigan Avenue. The Emanuel administration also established a reparations program earlier this year to benefit victims of torture under former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. A few days later, Emanuel announced that he had demanded and received the resignation of McCarthy, created a new task force and expanded the use of body cameras.

The officers used electrical shock, burning and mock executions to elicit confessions from suspects, mostly African-American, from the early 1970s through the early 1990s. He called more broadly on changes in criminal justice systems, while decrying what he called the second-class treatment of Chicagoans by police because of race. While a police review board previously found the officers’ actions justified, Emanuel said he did not see how the treatment of the man — who later died following a reaction to an antipsychotics drug — could ‘‘possibly be acceptable’’ and said he did not consider the investigation closed.

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