As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel rejected calls for his resignation on Wednesday, the uproar over the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald continued and protesters increased their pressure on Emanuel to step aside.
A group called the Coalition For a New Chicago said the city was as embarrassed by Emanuel as Toronto was by its former Mayor Rob Ford, who admitted to smoking crack. The group wants Emanuel to leave office.
Aother group of activists, The Black Youth Project 100, said in a statement that the firing of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Tuesday was only one step that Emanuel needed to take to hold himself and the city accountable for systemic violence against black people. Now Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez must resign, the group said.
Also calling for their resignation, in an opinion column in The New York Times, was Bernard Harcourt, a former law and political science professor at the University of Chicago who is now a professor at Columbia University.
And at the premiere of Spike Lee’s new movie “Chi-Raq” on Tuesday, the director said McCarthy’s departure would not be the only one.
Lee predicted “some more heads are gonna roll.”
“We have a process,” he said. “It’s called the election. The voters spoke. I’ll be held accountable and responsible for my actions and decisions I make and that’s how I approach it. I never shrink from the responsibility of making what I think are the very tough decisions to move the city forward.”
Demonstrators have taken to the streets in Chicago following the release of a video showing McDonald being fatally shot 16 times as he walked down the middle of Pulaski Road. Critics are demanding to know why the city did not release the video early in the year, in what some are calling a cover-up that helped Emanuel win his re-election battle.
Last week, 13 months after McDonald’s killing, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murder, a delay that also prompted calls for Alvarez's resignation.
Former Chicago alderman Dick Simpson, now a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said that he did not think Emanuel would resign unless he lost so much support that he was unable to accomplish anything. Members of the black and Latino caucuses on the City Council have called for the resignations of McCarthy and Alvarez but not of Emanuel, Simpson said.
“We have never impeached a mayor," he said noting that the city has had some scoundrels in office. He also said that the City Council has acted as a "rubber stamp" for Emanuel.
There is no procedure in Illinois to recall a mayor, Simpson said.
Alvarez, who is up for re-election next year, is in trouble in her primary challenge, he said. He said he thought it likely that she could lose.