Chicago residents and activists have taken to social media following the release of the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to call for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has come under fire recently for his stance on the release of the video.
On Wednesday morning, the hashtag #ResignRahm was trending on Twitter in Chicago. More than a week before the video was released to the public, Emanuel said it would be premature to release it due to the ongoing FBI investigation.
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, and release the video to the public.
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."
Five people were arrested during a protest that started in the West Loop and moved throughout downtown Chicago, lasting nine hours Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, but authorities said it remained largely peaceful and respectful.
On Wednesday, the City Council's Black Caucus held a press conference calling for more accountability in city government. Although they did not specifically name Emanuel, they did call for the firing of McCarthy for the second time in recent weeks. The first time the group of aldermen called for McCarthy's firing, in October, Emanuel said he stood behind McCarthy, who indicated he had no plans to step down.
"We as a city have to demand better of our elected officials who are charged with protecting us all equally," Ald. Howard Brookins said at the press conference. "It is no excuse for this type of behavior."
Emanuel placed the burden of change on the entire city of Chicago instead of singling out the police department Tuesday, saying "as a city, we must also do certain things."
"We also have to get to a place, as a city, where officers who patrol communities in our city see a young man not as a potential problem and a risk, but they also see the young man as an individual who is worthy of their protection," Emanuel said.