Chicagoans have taken to the city's downtown streets Wednesday in a massive call for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's resignation. The protest comes as Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologized for the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at a special meeting of the City Council Wednesday. The mayor, in a tearful speech of about 40 minutes, also made note of the need for changes to the Chicago Police Department.
"If we're going to fix it, I want you to understand it's my responsibility with you," Emanuel said in address to the City Council, media and a handful of leaders in attendance, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. "But if we're also going to begin the healing process, the first step in that journey is my step, and I'm sorry."
The mayor went on to say that all young men in the city should be treated equally by law enforcement, adding that the McDonald shooting is "a defining moment on the issues of crime and policing -- and the even larger issues of truth, justice and race." Emanuel's speech comes after the U.S. Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the Chicago Police Department following the release of the police dash-cam video of the McDonald shooting.
In response to Emanuel's speech, Rev. Jackson said action will be the true determinant of whether Emanuel's "impassioned" speech holds water.
"The word must become flesh, and we'll know the value of it then," Jackson said. "It must become a practice, and it must happen immediately. We now know police saw the killing of Laquan McDonald and filed a false report. They should be addressed immediately."
Jackson also said many questions still remain regarding the knowledge level of Emanuel in terms of whether he watched the video before it was publicly released as well as the actions of the mayor and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in handling the case.
"Who saw the tape when and delayed the tape for 13 months?" asked Jackson. "When subpoenas are issued to testify under oath, then we'll know who knew what when."
Many of the protesters taking part in Wednesday's ongoing protest have walked out of work and school to take part in the protest and have tried to get into the Chicago Board of Trade as well as Macy's on State St. The police are also attempting to keep the hundreds of protesters off Michigan Ave. after they blocked Congress St. and Michigan a bit earlier in the protest. After rallying near Millennium Park, the protesters are now blocking traffic at Wacker Dr. and Michigan Ave. and heading over the Chicago River bridge.
Check back with Progress Illinois for additional updates on today's protests as well as the special and regular City Council meetings that took place this morning. Follow our live tweets of the events @ProgressIL.
UPDATE 1 (3:16 p.m.): The protesters marched through the Magnificent Mile shopping district on Michigan Ave. Police blocked their attempts to get on to Lake Shore Dr. They are now heading west bound on Oak St. in the city's posh Gold Coast neighborhood.