Activists: Emanuel needs to answer questions about Laquan McDonald case during hearing

Activists: Emanuel needs to answer questions about Laquan McDonald case during hearing
© Associated Press-M. Spencer Green

Activists say that former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) needs to answer questions about the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald during his confirmation hearing to serve as U.S. ambassador to Japan. 

In a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, more than 20 activists led by Illinois congressional candidate Kina Collins (D) expressed their “deep concern” about Emanuel’s nomination, mainly over his handling of McDonald’s death.                                             

“Emanuel’s nomination for U.S. Ambassador to Japan must be withdrawn. If the hearing does occur, we demand that Emanuel be forced to answer for his egregious actions,” the letter reads. “You, as Senators tasked with advising and consenting the President in this nomination, deserve answers.”

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The letter, which was first reported by Politico, comes as Emanuel faces the Senate panel over his nomination to the ambassador post. Progressives have torn into Emanuel since he was nominated in August, in large part because of McDonald’s shooting.

McDonald was shot 16 times by police in October 2014, but dashcam footage of the incident was hidden for more than a year under Emanuel’s administration.

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder for shooting McDonald and sentenced to six years and nine months in prison in 2019.

In their letter, the activists say they want the panel to ask if Emanuel has apologized to McDonald’s family. They also want Emanuel to answer to why his administration kept footage of the shooting private, and why he opposed a federal civil rights investigation into CPD’s handling of the case.

“For 400 days, Rahm Emanuel tried to cover-up the truth of what happened to Laquan. For 400 days, we marched, organized, and protested for the release of the police dashcam footage,” the letter reads.

“We knew that all too often, police lie when their own careers are at stake. And for 400 days, Emanuel helped the officer evade justice — and prevented Laquan’s family from obtaining the same,” the letter continues.