Hundreds take to Chicago streets in protest , call for Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s resignation
CHICAGO–Hundreds of protesters are marching through the streets near Chicago’s City Hall, blocking traffic and chanting, “16 shots and a cover-up!”
Wednesday’s march is the latest in several weeks of protests following the release of video showing a white police officer shooting a black teenager 16 times in October 2014. The protesters also want Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign.
The video showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s death also has led to the forced resignation of the city’s police chief and multiple investigations, including a pending civil rights inquiry by the U.S. Justice Department. Also, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder.
The crowd, which set out from Daley Plaza in the early afternoon, was peaceful but angry.
Earlier in the day, Mayor Emanuel addressed the City Council, apologizing for McDonald’s death.
In his speech, Emanuel said that the police force needs “complete and total reform,” and that it’s unacceptable that parents in the city fell the need to warn their children to be wary of police officers.
“No citizen is a second-class citizen in the city of Chicago,” he said.
The mayor was near tears when he recalled a question from a young man who had had run-ins with the law. The mayor said he asked him, “Do you think the police would ever treat you the way they treat me?”
Emanuel also said that the reforms must go beyond the police department and that Chicago needs to “reset our values.” Gun violence has become “normalized” as the city grapples with gang violence and how to reform a police force with a decades-old reputation for brutality, he said.
Emanuel says there is a “trust problem” between people and the police, and city and the police, in particular, “have a responsibility to win back the trust.”
He also reiterated the need to address other issues related to the mistrust of the police force, including “underlying challenges of family, of poverty, of joblessness, or hopelessness.”