Sign the petition: Accountability for the Chicago cover-up

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Tell Mayor Emanuel and State's Attorney Alvarez: Resign immediately over the Laquan McDonald cover-up.

Petition to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez:
"You have lost the public's trust due to your role in covering up and delaying justice for the murder of Laquan McDonald. You must resign immediately."

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Dear 5849376,

Rahm & Alvarez Must Resign

The cover-up of the Chicago police murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald may go right to the top of the city's leadership: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez.

The city of Chicago fought for more than a year to prevent the release of a dashcam video showing McDonald's death, and now we know why. The police department long claimed that McDonald was moving to attack officers when he was shot, but the video indicates that was a lie. Officer Jason Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times in 15 seconds, even though the teenager was walking away from officers, and fired 15 of those shots after McDonald was already on the ground.1

Mayor Emanuel and State's Attorney Alvarez have had access to this video for over a year. Emanuel appears to have made repeated misleading claims about why it should not be released. Only when the footage became public did Alvarez file charges against Officer Van Dyke. Facing tough re-election campaigns, both had incentive to bury the truth.2

Emanuel and Alvarez have lost the public trust. They cannot be relied upon to reform the Chicago Police Department or ensure the safety of Chicago residents. We stand in solidarity with our friends at ColorOfChange, Democracy for America, and local leaders in Chicago in calling on Emanuel and Alvarez to resign effective immediately.

Tell Mayor Emanuel and State's Attorney Alvarez: Resign immediately over the Laquan McDonald cover-up. Click here to sign the petition.

Democratic politicians cannot claim that Black Lives Matter and then act as if their own careers matter more. McDonald's murder took place right in the middle of Emanuel's hotly contested re-election campaign. The New York Times, in a scathing editorial, said the whole episode looks like "an attempt by the city, the police and prosecutors to keep the video under wraps, knowing the political problems it would most likely create."3

The Chicago Police Department has paid out more than $500 million since 2004 to cover-up allegations of police brutality and wrongdoing.4 But this case is bigger than just the police department. Laquan McDonald's execution and the ensuing cover-up cast doubt on Mayor Emanuel and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, as well:

  • There were early reports that police officers erased 86 minutes of surveillance camera footage that would have shown McDonald's murder, but those charges went uninvestigated.5
  • State's Attorney Anita Alvarez had access to the dashcam video showing McDonald's murder for 13 months. But Alvarez did not file charges until a judge ordered its release to the public, leading to multiple calls for her resignation.6
  • During the intervening 13 months, Officer Van Dyke remained on the city payroll.7
  • Recently released documents indicate that police officers lied in their initial reports about McDonald's death, but neither appear to have been investigated.8
  • Emanuel repeatedly claimed that releasing the video would taint a federal investigation. That was a lie. The Justice Department did not ask the city to withhold the video.9
  • Emanuel fought a federal investigation, until suddenly reversing course under pressure last week.10
  • Mayor Emanuel waited until last week to fire police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and then only because he had become a political "distraction."11
  • Emanuel's team reportedly made sure to include a clause keeping the video confidential in a $5 million settlement the city reached with the McDonald family.12

Local prosecutors across the country too often side with bad-apple cops who kill, leading to a culture where anything goes and no one is held accountable. The Cook County State's Attorney is only the latest caught seeking to sweep the facts under the rug. Demanding her resignation will send a signal to prosecutors across the nation.

Tell Mayor Emanuel and State's Attorney Alvarez: Resign immediately over the Laquan McDonald cover-up. Click here to sign the petition.

Last week, Sec. Hillary Clinton said that she still had faith in Emanuel's leadership of Chicago.13 President Obama has also so far resisted calls for Emanuel to resign.14 By speaking out now, we can show national Democratic party leaders that putting partisan loyalties ahead of the fight for Black lives is unacceptable.

Emanuel and Alvarez can no longer be trusted. It is time for them to go, and all of us have a responsibility to speak out.

Tell Mayor Emanuel and State's Attorney Alvarez: Resign immediately over the Laquan McDonald cover-up. Click the link below to sign the petition:

Thank you for speaking out.

Murshed Zaheed, Deputy Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

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  1. Ron Fournier, "The Fish Rots From the Head in Chicago," National Journal, December 6, 2015.
  2. Ibid.
  3. The Editorial Board, "The Chicago Police Scandal," The New York Times, December 1, 2015.
  4. Jack Mirkinson, "Chicago cops' account of Laquan McDonald killing differed wildly from video footage," Fusion, December 6, 2015.
  5. Fournier, "The Fish Rots From the Head in Chicago."
  6. Ibid.
  7. Fran Spielman and Patrick Judge, "Garcia wants Alvarez to quit; state's attorney's political base in jeopardy," Chicago Sun-Times, November 30, 2015.
  8. Monica Davey, "Officers' Statements Differ From Video in Death of Laquan McDonald," The New York Times, December 5, 2015.
  9. Fournier, "The Fish Rots From the Head in Chicago."
  10. Ibid.
  11. Ibid.
  12. Ibid.
  13. John McCormick, "Clinton Voices Confidence in Rahm Emanuel as Chicago Mayor," Bloomberg, December 4, 2015.
  14. Sarah Wheaton, "Rahm's troubles ripple toward Obama, Clinton," Politico, December 3, 2015.

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