After it was reported by Politico that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel stated that he did not see the need for a federal investigation of the Chicago Police Department, despite Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's request for one, the mayor is now "clarify[ing]" his position on the issue. The calls for an investigation into the department come as a result of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot the teen 16 times in October 2014.
Last night, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton weighed in on the issue, stating her support for an independent federal inquiry of the Chicago Police Department through her spokesman Brian Fallon in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. This morning, Emanuel, who previously worked in Bill Clinton's administration as well as President Obama's, then released a comment stating that he "welcomes" involvement by the U.S. Department of Justice:
Many things must happen to restore trust in the Chicago Police Department and I welcome efforts and ideas that can help us achieve that important goal. I want to clarify my comments from yesterday and I want to be clear that the City welcomes engagement by the Department of Justice when it comes to looking at the systemic issues embedded in CPD.
First and foremost, we need answers as to what happened in the Laquan McDonald case, which is why the United States Attorney should swiftly conclude his year-long investigation and shed light on what happened that night, and the actions of everyone involved.
As it relates to a longer-term review of our police department and efforts to improve police accountability, I am open to anything that will help give us answers and restore the trust that is critical to our public safety efforts. I trust the Department of Justice to make the right decision based on the facts and the law. Like every Chicagoan, I want to get to a place where we're permanently addressing the entrenched issues in our police department. Our residents deserve that, as do our police officers. Adherence to civil rights and effective crime fighting go hand in hand.