Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke out publicly on the Laquan McDonald case for the first time on Thursday, saying he cried when watched the dashcam video showing the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old by a Chicago police officer.
The governor attended a grand opening event for the new Google office in Chicago and took questions after the event, addressing the controversy that has dominated headlines for more than a week.
"I watched the video when it came out last week. I cried," Rauner said. "That video is shocking, terrifying. I cried for the young man who was brutally shot. I cried for the thousands of police officers who are honest and hardworking, who put themselves in harm's way to serve and protect us and whose reputation gets damaged by the behavior of a few bad people. I cried for the violence that is tearing apart so many of our communtiies. Anyone who sees that video has to reasonably wonder why would it take so long to prosecute or deal with this? What's taken so long? It's a legitimate question for everybody to be asking."
Rauner did not explicitly address the recent calls for a Justice Department investigation into the Chicago Police Department, but he did say he thinks it's a "right thing" after he was questioned about his stance on it. He also added that he was surprised that the Obama administration has not taken steps to get involved in the McDonald case.
When asked if he has spoken to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has faced questions about a possible cover-up of the police shooting, Rauner said he always has a dialogue with Emanuel, but he did not specify whether he has discussed the McDonald case with him.
Emanuel also attended the Google grand opening. Just a few hours before the event, Emanuel's office issued a statement saying the mayor now supports a Justice Department investigation, despite his previous comments indicating he opposed it.
"We have a long road ahead of us as a city," Emanuel said. "I welcome people from many views to help us to do exactly what we need to do."
Until Thursday, Rauner has avoided voicing his opinion on the McDonald case and the possible Justice Department investigation, even as national leaders spoke out publicly. On Wednesday, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called for a Justice Department investigation into Chicago police tactics. The same day, the White House voiced its support for Emanuel, who has faced calls for his resignation from community activists as well as some politicians.
When asked why he had not yet spoken about the McDonald case or the events that followed the release of the dashcam video, Rauner said simply, "I wasn't asked."