Laquan McDonald

Rep. Gutierrez Withdraws Support for Alvarez's Re-Election

In an interview with Kate Snow on MSNBC, Gutierrez said he "anguished" over his decision to withdraw his support but said she ultimately "let Laquan McDonald down"

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a long-time supporter of Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, announced Tuesday he was withdrawing his support for Alvarez in her bid for re-election in the wake of the release of the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.

In an interview with Kate Snow on MSNBC, Gutierrez said he "anguished" over his decision to withdraw his support but said she ultimately "let Laquan McDonald down." 

"I was very proud to support her eight years ago when she first announced. I campaigned for her," Gutierrez said. "A few months ago, we sat down, the state's attorney and I, and I made a commitment to her that I was going to support her in her re-election. I informed her — it wasn't easy for me, there aren't a lot of Latino elected officials in high positions, like members of Congress or much less state's attorneys like Anita Alvarez is, so it was very difficult for me — but I informed her today that I'm not asking her to resign, but I'm not going to support her in her re-election effort. And I'm not going to be voting for her next March." 

Gutierrez said the indictment for Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged last week with first-degree murder for the October 2014 shooting, should have happened months ago.

Alvarez came under fire for the 13 months it took to charge Van Dyke as well as her role in keeping the dash-cam video away from the public eye until last week. She defended herself on Monday, however, saying she would not be "bullied by politicians." 

In March, Alvarez faces a tough primary election as she fights to hold onto her seat as the Cook County state's attorney. Challengers Kim Foxx and Donna More, both former prosecutors, have attacked Alvarez for her role in the McDonald case.

The interview between Gutierrez and Snow occurred hours after Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he was firing Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, who received countless calls to resign in the past week. Several activists have also called on Alvarez to resign, and some have even asked Emanuel to step down.

Gutierrez said he believes Emanuel did the right thing to fire McCarthy, and he defended him against critics who slammed the mayor's task force on police accountability, which was created after the McDonald video was released. Gutierrez said he wanted to "wait and see" what the task force accomplishes.

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