Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel calls for tasers, people call for his resignation
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is hoping to provide new policing procedures as the city’s law enforcement agency continues to find itself under public scrutiny.
Emanuel is set to address the city on Wednesday afternoon announcing five-step plan to equip officers with tasers by summer 2016, the Chicago Tribune reported. The change aims to provide means for officers to enact better de-escalation strategies that have, from a public relations perspective, been severely lacking in the face of multiple “shoot first, question later” encounters with civilians.
In late November, video footage of Jason Van Dyke, an Chicago Police Officer, shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in the middle of the street while walking away in October 2014. Questions of a cover-up ensued as news leaked that an independent journalist had to suit for the footage to be released through a Freedom of Information Act request and officers were caught deleting video footage at a Burger King near where the shooting took place.
Additionally, the day after Christmas, CPD officers killed 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and 55-year-old Bessie Stone when responding to a domestic disturbance call. LeGrier’s father, Antonio LeGrier, filed a wrongful death suit lawsuit to Cook County Circuit Court on Monday according to NBC News. The suit identifies the shooting as “excessive and unreasonable,” calling attention to both police accountability and questioning the capacity for officers to restrain from using lethal force as a last, not first, resort.
In order to address these concerns following the holiday tragedy, Emanuel returned to Chicago, cutting short his family vacation in Cuba. Kelly Quinn, spokeswoman for Emanuel, said in a statement on the mayor’s behalf that he did so to “continue the ongoing work of restoring accountability and trust in the Chicago Police Department.”
However, demonstrations by Chicago residents show not only a lack of trust in CPD but also in Emanuel himself. After the release of the footage of McDonald’s murder was released, some took to social media calling for the mayor to resign with #ResignRahm.
[TW: police brutality; screen shot of McDonald at beginning of video]
Yesterday, protestors made the same cry, this time outside of Emmanuel’s house.
“Today, we’re asking you, right in front of your house, for Rahm Emanuel to step down,” activist Ja’Mal Green told the Tribune. “A real leader knows when to step down and when you can allow someone else to lead.”
As Emanuel hopes to rectify the wrong doing of his city’s law enforcement, it may be time for him to realize that the steps necessary for change need to happen on someone else’s watch.
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