Protesters demand resignation of Emanuel, Alvarez


Lou Foglia

Following Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s apology at City Hall on Dec 9, several hundred protesters marched through the Loop, demanding the mayor’s resignation. 

By metro reporter

Hours after Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologized Dec. 9 at City Hall for the death of Laquan McDonald, a teenager who was fatally shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in 2014, protesters took to the streets calling for Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez

to resign.

“Anita and Rahm must go,” and “16 shots and a coverup,” were some of the many chants protesters shouted as they marched through the South Loop.

When asked by the Chronicle what she would say to the mayor if she had the chance, Kara Rodriguez, a senior at DePaul University studying theater, said:

“We see right through you, we know  you are a big part of the violence going on in the Chicago Police Department. If you really cared about accountability, if you really cared about ending a scandal, you would resign.”

 Protesters accused Emanuel and Alvarez of concealing the video depicting McDonald’s death, which was not released until Nov. 24, more than a year after it happened.

“We’re going to have a protest every day until Rahm and Anita resign,” said Carolyn Ruff, a Lakeview resident at the protest.

On Dec. 1 Emanuel fired former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. Former head of the Independent Police Review Authority Scott Ando also resigned Dec. 7 following the announcement of the Department of Justice’s investigation of the CPD.

Later that day, Emanuel announced Sharon Fairley, a former federal prosecutor, as the new head of IPRA.

“I promise you I bring no agenda, other than the pursuit of integrity and transparency in the work that IPRA does. This is what our Chicago Police brethren deserve and what the City of Chicago citizens demand,” Fairley said at the press conference.

Fairley said change is coming, but the mission of IPRA—which according to the organization’s website is building trust in the police disciplinary process and the CPD as a whole through thorough, fair and timely investigations and increased transparency—will remain the same.

As for the investigation into the CPD, Emanuel said on Nov. 30 he welcomes the investigation and that it is in Chicago’s best interest as a city.

At the press conference, a reporter asked Emanuel why he has not fired the other officers who falsified reports in the McDonald case to reestablish his credibility.

“You’re asking on a day which I’ve brought in a new superintendent; we have a new head of IPRA, [and] there is an investigation right now going on by the U.S. Attorney General on the event and all the parties involved as it relates to Laquan McDonald,” Emanuel said. “When I’m given the chance and material, I will take action and make things right if they are wrong and hold people accountable.” 

Stephen Edwards, a national committee member of Socialist Alternative who attended the protest on Dec. 9, said the concealing of the video of the McDonald shooting is one of the many crimes that have been committed by the CPD.

“I think he’s an absolute disaster,” Edwards said when asked his opinion on Emanuel.

Edwards said he does not trust the Task Force on Police Accountability proposed by Emanuel on Dec. 1.

“I don’t see any reason to think it would be independent,” Edwards said.

Ruff also said she is not in favor of the task force because the members were chosen by Emanuel.

It is not clear whether Alvarez or Emanuel will resign, but Emanuel said he is taking responsibility and trying to fix problems and Alvarez had publicly said she will not resign.

“I’m taking responsibility for what happened and I take responsibility for fixing it,” Emanuel said. “Part of every level of government is thinking not only about the future of the city of Chicago [but] doing the things necessary and making sure you’re held accountable for the results, and so I will be judged by that, as I was for the last four years and the next four years to make sure that I do what’s necessary.”