Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has disgraced his office and the people he was elected to serve as mayor. His aides have been discovered coordinating a delay in the release of the Laquan McDonald video, where a white police officer shot a 17-year old boy 16 times. Clearly it was intended to protect Emanuel’s re-election campaign in early 2015. Undoubtedly, if the video had been released then, he would not be mayor today.
Rahm Emanuel is not fit to lead. The manner in which he has handled this entire situation is indicative of someone who is arrogant and self-righteous. Considering Emanuel’s abrasive reputation in DC during his time as Obama’s chief of staff, it is no surprise his staff would resort to such shady and unethical tactics.
Three thousand emails obtained by the Chicago Tribune, indicate Emanuel’s team knew as early as Dec. 8, 2014, that the shooting would likely cause a problem. Scott Ando — then the head of the Independent Police Review Authority, sent an email to then deputy chief of staff for public safety, Janey Rountree. Ando’s email linked a press release that contradicted the police union’s claim that the shooting occurred because the officer’s life was in danger. However, this was only the beginning of what would later become what appears to be an orchestrated cover-up.
After Emanuel’s failed attempt to block the release of the McDonald shooting video, his senior staffers prepared a conference call with African-American religious and community leaders. What is troubling about this planned conference call is how scripted it was. Not only did the city’s top attorney, Stephen Patton provide dozens of talking points to the mayor for the call, but he also edited a script the mayor read during the call. It’s safe to assume this script was prepared to make sure the mayor stayed in sync with the purported narrative, all while continuing to hide the fact that his office knew of the video since the fall of 2014.
To assure the mayor did not upset the African-American religious and community leaders, Patton suggested that Emanuel not use certain language:
“In the sixth paragraph, I would not say that Laquan was ‘wielding a knife.’ He was carrying a knife. Wielding’ suggests he was threatening officers with it. He was not,” Patton wrote.
The extent to which Rahm Emanuel and his staff went to protect him from political backlash is the reason many Americans do not trust politicians today. It is synonymous with the phrase, “politics as usual.”
After closing 50 public schools in predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods, which set off the first school teachers strike in a quarter-century — Emanuel’s support was already slipping. During a particularly tense election cycle, the last thing he or his staff wanted was the backlash that would come from the release of the Laquan McDonald video.
Despite continued demands for his resignation, Rahm Emanuel insists he is not going anywhere. The idea that he is contrite is merely a facade to create an image of remorse. The reality is, Rahm Emanuel is only concerned with saving his job.
Emanuel has since announced more police training and changes to the department’s policies on use of force. He also said there will be an increase in the number of police tasers — from 700 to 1,400 — equipping every patrol car with a taser by June 1, 2016. However, he failed to mention the cost or how financially burdened Chicago would foot the bill. Tasers cost between $500 and $1,000, putting the price tag for the new stun guns around $700,000. It seems like this plan is doomed from the beginning.
From the central role he played in Bill Clinton’s 1994 crime bill that increased black male incarceration significantly — to the closing of 50 public schools in black and Latino neighborhoods, Rahm Emanuel has not been good for the people he proclaimed he wanted to help the most. His cover up of the Laquan McDonald video is just another example of how unfit he is to lead.
Shermichael Singleton is a Republican political consultant, writer, and political analyst. He appears weekly on NewsOne Now with host Roland Martin and is also a contributor to The Hill and The Washington Times monthly magazine, American CurrentSee. He has worked on the presidential campaigns of Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney as well as other campaigns across the country. He currently serves as the Coalitions Advisor to the presidential campaign of Dr. Ben Carson. Follow him on Twitter @Shermichael_