In the six days since the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald was released, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has not had a public schedule to allow for any questions concerning the video or subsequent protests and calls for his resignation on social media.
Emanuel spoke at the news conference just before the video was released last Tuesday. He then went to Millennium Park to attend the lighting of the Christmas tree, which was his last public event.
The mayor has plans to leave for Paris for the global Climate Summit for Local Leaders later this week, but it is not clear exactly when he will leave. Emanuel's spokesperson would not confirm his departure date, but a City Hall spokesperson said the mayor will leave for Paris on Thursday.
Despite the lack of a public schedule, Emanuel has still been out and about in the city, attending different events. Last Wednesday night, the mayor's staff released a photo of the mayor enjoying a pre-Thanksgiving meal with refugees. His spokesperson said the meal was a "private event," which is why members of the media were not invited.
On Sunday afternoon, the mayor's staff released a photo of Emanuel cutting the ribbon at Washington Park at an event that was not made public until after it happened. The Sunday ribbon cuttings at newly renovated parks have been regular stops for the mayor. Usually the alderman of the respective ward also attends these ribbon cuttings, but this time Ald. Willie Cochran did not show.
Requests for comment from the mayor's office about the lack of a public schedule were not immediately returned.
Emanuel has come under fire in recent days due to his stance on releasing the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old McDonald. More than a week before the video was released, Emanuel said it would be premature to release it due to the ongoing FBI investigation. The morning after the video's release, the hashtag #ResignRahm was trending on Twitter.
Critics attacked Emanuel, along with Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, for the 13 months it took to file charges against Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times.
Alvarez defended herself and Emanuel on Tuesday after first-degree murder charges were filed against Van Dyke, saying the mayor's plea to keep the video away from the public eye "was in the best interest of the investigation." Alvarez added that the reason it took 13 months to charge Van Dyke is because investigations into police shootings and misconduct are "massive and labor intensive."
Minutes before the video was released, Emanuel said he hadn't seen it yet and was waiting until the rest of the city could see it, too. He added that he hoped the release of the video would help "build bridges of understanding" in the city instead of inciting unrest.
"I believe this is a moment that can build bridges of understanding rather than become a barrier of misunderstanding," Emanuel said. "I understand that people will be upset and want to protest when they see this video. But I would like to echo the comments of the McDonald family. They asked for calm and that those who choose to speak out do it peacefully."