Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is facing mounting pressure to step down. And it seems he is being assailed from all sides.
The Chicago Tribune reports hundreds of protesters, including Black Lives Matter activists, staged huge demonstrations in front of City Hall, the Chicago Board of Trade and at Congress Parkway near Interstate 290, which snarled traffic. According to Reuters, 200 protesters also gathered at a Police Board meeting holding up signs saying “Black Lives Matter” and “Rahm You Have Blood on Your Hands.”
The protesters, including whites and Latinos, were upset at the conduct of the Chicago Police Department and Emanuel’s handling of the Laquan McDonald shooting. The Chicago PD is also facing a Department of Justice investigation. Emanuel held a tearful press conference on Wednesday morning where he admitted responsibility for the latest police scandal.
“I apologize for what happened on my watch,” Emanuel said.
But Emanuel’s apology did little to quell the protesters’ rage. Angelina Espindola dismissed the mayor’s emotional apology as “crocodile tears,” according to The Chicago Tribune.
“I’m just really tired of turning on the news and seeing another innocent victim shot,” said Espindola. “I’m tired of mothers crying. Sorry isn’t going to bring those kids back. All (Emanuel) is doing is talking. Now he’s doing it because everyone’s paying attention.”
Many of the protesters doubted Emanuel’s promise to reform the system.
“This system is designed for us to be dead or in jail and we’re tired,” said Jamal Wayne, according to Reuters.
A recent poll which showed 51 percent of voters say the mayor should step down is indicative of his sinking popularity, but ThinkProgress said Emanuel refuses to step down.
However, he might end up being removed from office by the voters. ThinkProgress also reported that State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D) has introduced legislation that would make the recall process easier. Under House Bill 4356, 88,610 signatures would need to be collected to activate a special recall election. If the recall is successful, the current mayor would be forced to step down and temporarily replaced by the vice mayor. Another election would have to be scheduled to elect a new mayor.
Emanuel is not the only politician facing the wrath of Chicago residents. Protesters are also demanding the resignation of Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who has been accused of being reluctant to prosecute abusive police officers. When a Cook County judge acquitted Detective Dante Servin for the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd in 2012, he said Alvarez should have charged him with murder, not manslaughter. She also took more than a year to indict Officer Jason Van Dyke who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times, and declined to charge Officer George Hernandez for the fatal shooting of Ronald Johnson III in 2014.
Addressing the police board, Dorothy Holmes, mother of Ronald Johnson called Alvarez “a bald-faced liar.” She also accused Emanuel of having “fake (expletive) tears.”
“I’m a keep on fighting,” she said, “because if it was left up to me, she’d need a DOC (Department of Corrections) suit on.”