The Murder of Laquan McDonald Looms over Rahm Emanuel’s Confirmation

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Politics|The execution of Laquan McDonald looms implicit Rahm Emanuel’s confirmation.

Rahm Emanuel, past    the politician  of Chicago, successful  2018.
Credit...Alyssa Schukar for The New York Times
  • Oct. 20, 2021, 8:36 a.m. ET

Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago, President Biden’s nominee for United States ambassador to Japan, faces a Senate confirmation proceeding Wednesday — 7 years to the time aft a achromatic metropolis constabulary serviceman murdered Laquan McDonald, a Black teenager, prompting protests and accusations of a cover-up.

Mr. Emanuel, a brash and hard-driving erstwhile Democratic congressman from Illinois who served arsenic President Barack Obama’s archetypal main of staff, is expected to beryllium confirmed, with the enactment of respective Republicans, including Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

But helium is apt to look questions during his proceeding earlier the Senate Foreign Relations Committee implicit his handling of the McDonald case, peculiarly the delayed merchandise of constabulary footage showing Officer Jason Van Dyke sidesplitting Mr. McDonald, 17, connected Oct. 20, 2014.

The metropolis released dashboard camera footage implicit a twelvemonth later, aft a justice intervened. The footage showed the serviceman firing the limb 16 times arsenic the teenager, who was carrying a knife, walked along, veering distant from the officer.

The metropolis agreed to wage his household a $5 cardinal settlement, and Mr. Van Dyke was yet convicted of a second-degree murder charge.

Mr. Emanuel, 61, who has repeatedly defended his actions, said helium ne'er saw the footage until it was released publicly, and maintains that the lawsuit led to long-overdue reforms successful the department, including the usage of assemblage cameras and implementation of de-escalation policies.


Credit...Chicago Police Department, via Associated Press

But the occurrence earnestly weakened his governmental lasting successful Chicago, the nation’s third-largest city, and mightiness person played successful relation successful his determination not to question a 3rd term.

Several high-profile progressives, including Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Mondaire Jones of New York and Cori Bush of Missouri, person called connected Senate Democrats to cull his information implicit his grounds connected contention relations and policing during his 8 years arsenic mayor.

“Rahm Emanuel covered up the execution of Laquan McDonald,” Ms. Bush wrote connected Twitter erstwhile his information was announced successful August. “He indispensable beryllium disqualified from ever holding an appointed presumption successful immoderate administration.”

On Wednesday, representatives of Indivisible Chicago, a wide radical organized to reason the Trump administration, held a objection calling for Mr. Emanuel to beryllium rejected.

Mr. Emanuel, who helped hammer done the Affordable Care Act and fiscal rescue measures during his tenure successful the West Wing, has been huddling with senators for the past week, meetings that person mostly focused connected commercialized and information issues, according to medication officials.

The erstwhile mayor, who spearheaded the Democratic instrumentality backmost of the House successful 2006, has the enactment of the 2 Illinois senators, Richard J. Durbin and Tammy Duckworth.

The White House property secretary, Jen Psaki — who worked intimately with Mr. Emanuel during the Obama years — did not accidental if Mr. Biden has discussed the McDonald lawsuit with him erstwhile pressed by reporters connected Tuesday.

The president “knew his record, longstanding, anterior to the nomination,” Ms. Psaki said.

The committee volition besides deliberate implicit the information of Nicholas Burns, a seasoned diplomat, to service arsenic Mr. Biden’s ambassador to China, and Jonathan Eric Kaplan to beryllium the U.S. ambassador to Singapore.

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