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Calls For Rahm To Resign Continue, Even After Garry McCarthy Firing

By Kate Shepherd in News on Dec 1, 2015 8:13PM

Photo credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy took one for the team when Mayor Rahm Emanuel formally asked him for his resignation this week. But some Chicagoans do not think ousting McCarthy is enough to quell the public outcry about the Laquan McDonald video, and calls for Emanuel's resignation are getting louder.

It's been quite a tough year for Emanuel: an unexpected runoff with Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Chicago's fiscal crisis, a massive tax hike proposal and the Barbara Byrd-Bennett scandal. But the mounting allegations that people within his administration "covered-up" the Laquan McDonald shooting video until compelled to release it by court might be the final straw for his administration.

"City leaders did everything in their power to keep the homicide from the public as long as possible," former University of Chicago law and political science professor (and current Columbia University professor) Bernard Harcourt wrote in an New York Times op-ed calling for the resignation of Emanuel, McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

Reporters peppered Emanuel with questions about calls for him to step down and whether or not he's a become "distraction" during an extremely rare news conference Tuesday morning announcing a new police accountability task force. He deflected the questions before abruptly walking out of the conference:

Protestors then took to City Hall to ask for Emanuel's resignation, including African-American ministers who say the Mayor has blood on his hands, according to CBS2's Jim Williams.

Criticism of the Emanuel's handling of the McDonald situation is so widespread that more than 10,000 people from Chicago and as far as Charleston, S.C. and San Mateo, Calif. have signed a Roots Action petition asking for Emanuel to immediately step down.

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has already been charged with first-degree murder for the death of McDonald but many are left wondering why it took more than a year (and a lawsuit for the video to be publicly released) for the charges. Some say the blame falls squarely on Alvarez's office, but Harcourt examined the possible motivations behind various other players in the case:

We can surmise that each had particular reasons. Mayor Emanuel was fighting for re-election in a tight race. Superintendent McCarthy wanted to keep his job. Ms. Alvarez needed the good will of the police union for her coming re-election campaign and probably wished to shield the police officers who bring her cases and testify in court.

None of that alters the fact that these actions have impeded the criminal justice system and, in the process, Chicago's leaders allowed a first-degree murder suspect, now incarcerated pending bail, to remain free for over a year on the city's payroll.

Organizations, including Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois and Black Lives Matter Chicago, are also calling for Emanuel to leave office.

"Today's news is the direct result of communities fighting back and doing whatever it takes to reclaim their city," SEIU Healthcare Illinois Vice President Greg Kelley said in a statement following McCarthy's firing. "But it does not change the fundamental reality: True justice requires that Alvarez and Mayor Emanuel resign."

Black Lives Matters Chicago is planning to meet outside CPD Headquarters and 35th and Michigan this evening to "celebrate" McCarthy's firing:

People have been asking for Emanuel's resignation on social media since the McDonald video was released last week. And there's been no shortage of tweets Tuesday expressing that McCarthy's firing is not enough and Emanuel still must resign:

Many local activists believe the chain of command that led to the suppression of the McDonald shooting video doesn't stop with McCarthy. Whether the resignations stop here is now yet another open question of the case.