Why Chicago can’t move past Laquan McDonald’s case until Mayor Rahm Emanuel resigns

Photo: cityofchicago.org

The city of Chicago is in disarray. Two weeks after the Chicago Police Department was forced to release the video of Laquan McDonald’s fatal shooting, major changes have occurred within the CPD and more changes are likely to come.

Officer Jason Van Dyke was the first person to take the fall after the dash-cam video showed him shooting McDonald 16 times as the teen walked away from officers. Van Dyke was officially charged with murder over one year after the incident. But he wasn’t the only person with blood on his hands. The officers on the scene were caught erasing video of the murder captured by a Burger King surveillance camera. Moreover, the police union released a false statement claiming that McDonald was moving in the direction of police before being shot. District Attorney Anita Alvarez also made a false claim by stating that there was no evidence that the video at Burger King had been edited.

Activists in Chicago, including Jesse Jackson, took their protest to the streets. Mayor Rahm Emanuel responded by firing CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy. The head of the Independent Police Review Authority, Scott Ando, was also fired.

Initially, Mayor Emanuel said that the Department of Justice should not investigate the CPD. But he changed his stance only days before Loretta Lynch revealed that the Department of Justice would open a civil rights investigation against the CPD.

At this point, it’s obvious that Chicago police have operated by means of corruption for years. Along with the McDonald murder, there are cases such as the police killing of Rekia Boyd where officer Dante Servin was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter. There is also the case of Ronald Johnson III, who was shot in the back by police in October 2014. A video of the dash-cam video will finally be released this week. Furthermore, CPD detained over 7K people at a secret prison where they were beaten and detained for hours without being officially processed.

All of this and much more has occurred under the watch of Mayor Emanuel. He intentionally stood behind the concealing of McDonald and Johnson’s videos to shield himself from a political firestorm during an election year. Chicago’s police and politicians have existed in corrupt systems for years without issue. But for Chicago to move forward, the city’s structure must be destroyed. And that can only begin when Mayor Emanuel resigns.

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