Religious Leaders Seek Special Prosecutor in Laquan McDonald Case, Circulate Petitions

The pastor of Chicago's Grace Memorial Baptist Church scheduled a 6:30 a.m. news conference to discuss the case and announce their new “vote of no confidence petition drive"

Saying they reject Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s “olive branch of peace,” three South Side pastors announced Friday they will begin circulating petitions of no-confidence in Emanuel as he remains embroiled in several excessive force cases involving Chicago Police.

In an early morning press conference outside City Hall, bishops Larry D. Trotter, Tavis Grant and James Dukes also called for Chief Judge of the Cook County Circuit Court Timothy Evans to appoint a special prosecutor in the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The three are also seeking for the release of another video that purportedly shows Chicago Police fatally shooting 17-year-old Cedrick Chatman on Jan. 7, 2013. A U.S. Magistrate judge has already said no to the video’s release, but a federal judge is also expected decide on whether the video will be released on Jan. 14.

The Independent Police Review Authority found Chatman’s shooting was justified, records show. Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, said prosecutors reviewed the IPRA investigation and chose not to file charges.

Grant cast doubt on the sincerity of Emanuel’s emotional Tuesday speech on policing that he delivered to a special session of the city council.

“While the Mayor was speaking about community and respect and responsibility, he had lawyers in federal court blocking another video,” Grant said. “Cedrick Chatman and his family is a good place to start in terms of making good on his apology.”

“We want change that leads to justice,” Grant added.

Dukes likened Emanuel to Germany after World War II.

“The mayor is in a state of being defeated … the defeated never dictates how the course of action is going to take place. We wouldn’t allow Nazi Germany to dictate the peace treaty.”

The no-confidence petition — which Dukes said would be circulated in support of state Rep. LaShawn Ford’s (8th) newly-filed bill that aims to recall Emanuel — will be circulated through communities in the same style as a political campaign.

“This is war, and in war there are going to be casualties,” Dukes said.

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