Illinois lawmaker aims to unseat Chicago mayor

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has come under fire over his handling of allegations of police brutality

Massoud Hayoun
New York
Thursday 10 December 2015 18:45 GMT
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

An Illinois state lawmaker has launched a bid to unseat Chicago’s mayor, under fire for his handling of what activists call police brutality against communities of color.

State Representative La Shawn Ford told The Independent that he on Wednesday filed a bill in the Illinois legislature that would set the foundations for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s removal from office. The state currently has no legal mechanism to unseat mayors.

“What we have here is a call by the people to make some action in springfield to help with a recall,” Representative Ford said.

“The people still don’t feel they can trust him” after videos of a white police officer shooting a 17-year-old black man 16 times shocked the nation and renewed attention to police brutality, particularly against black Americans, in Chicago and across the United States.

Mayor Emanuel fired the city’s police chief, Garry McCarthy, after video of officer Jerry Van Dyke shooting LaQuan McDonald on October 20, 2014 was released. He also announced the creation of a “Task force on Police Accountability.”

But police brutality opponents say the measures follow years of inaction under Mayor Emanuel’s administration.

Mayor Emanuel has “said that it’s all his fault, and I agree with him,” Representative Ford said.

LeAlan Jones is on activist spearheading the campaign to remove Mayor Emanuel from office. If the bill is passed, Mr Jones' Coalition for a New Chicago will need to gather nearly 90,000 signatures to bring the recall to a vote.

For him, it's not just about police brutality.

"Chicago has generations-old institutional problems that create social inequity," Mr Jones told The Independent. "The has mayor closed over 50 schools, has closed many mental health facilities, raised taxes and undermined the democratic process while championing democracy."

Mayor Emanuel had not responded to an interview request from The Independent at time of publication.

On Monday, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced an investigation into the “patterns and practices” of the Chicago Police Department.

“Specifically, we will examine a number of issues related to the Chicago Police Department’s use of force, including its use of deadly force, racial, ethnic and other disparities in its use of force,” US Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the press.

Mr Emanuel welcomed the investigation, which he said would bolster efforts to create a police force that “keeps the community safe while respecting the civil rights of every Chicagoan,” he said in a press release reported by the Associated Press.

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