Updated 12/3/15 – 1:52 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A day after calling Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s call for a Justice Department investigation of the Chicago Police Department’s use of force “misguided,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel reversed course, saying he is open to a federal probe of systemic issues at CPD.READ MORE: South Shore Woman Sees Police Activity After Shooting Leaves Man Dead, Only To Find Out It Was Her Own Beloved Brother
Emanuel’s announcement Thursday morning came hours after Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton also called for a Justice Department probe of the Chicago Police Department, but the mayor insisted he had not had a change of heart on the issue. Instead, he claimed he was just clarifying comments on Wednesday in which he seemed to dismiss Madigan’s request, and that he only meant that an ongoing federal criminal investigation of the Laquan McDonald shooting should not start from scratch.
“I own any of the confusion, and I want to be clear. I was answering a question as it relates to, and hoping that the investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago and the FBI here in Chicago – which started a year ago – would wrap up their investigation, rather than add one there,” he said Thursday at an unrelated event.
On Tuesday, Madigan sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking the Justice Department’s civil rights office to investigate whether the police department’s use of deadly force violates the Constitution or federal law.
She said “trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken” in the wake of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video.
The next day, Emanuel said it would be “misguided” to add another layer to the ongoing investigation by federal prosecutors and the FBI.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Patchy Frost Well Inland
Thursday, the mayor said he wants to make clear he would welcome a Justice Department review of the Chicago Police Department’s policies and practices.
“As it relates to – in my view – building the trust between the Police Department and the community, building also the notion and the concept of accountability, as well as reestablishing the principle that civil liberties and good public safety go together, I welcome the engagement of the Justice Department,”
Earlier in the day the mayor’s office released a statement that he supports “a longer-term review of our police department and efforts to improve police accountability.
“Many things must happen to restore trust in the Chicago Police Department and I welcome efforts and ideas that can help us achieve that important goal. I want to clarify my comments from yesterday and I want to be clear that the City welcomes engagement by the Department of Justice when it comes to looking at the systemic issues embedded in CPD.
First and foremost, we need answers as to what happened in the Laquan McDonald case, which is why the United States Attorney should swiftly conclude his year-long investigation and shed light on what happened that night, and the actions of everyone involved.
As it relates to a longer-term review of our police department and efforts to improve police accountability, I am open to anything that will help give us answers and restore the trust that is critical to our public safety efforts. I trust the Department of Justice to make the right decision based on the facts and the law. Like every Chicagoan, I want to get to a place where we’re permanently addressing the entrenched issues in our police department. Our residents deserve that, as do our police officers. Adherence to civil rights and effective crime fighting go hand in hand.”
Emanuel said restoring public trust in the Police Department will not be easy.
“We have a long road ahead of us as a city, and I welcome people from many views to help us do what exactly we need to do,” he said.
He said that’s why he welcomed the American Civil Liberties Union to help craft changes to the Police Department’s controversial “stop-and-frisk” policy earlier this year, and why he appointed a task force to review the department’s system of training, accountability, and oversight.MORE NEWS: Constituent Says She And Others Were Kicked Out Virtual Meeting With Embattled Ald. Jim Gardiner, And Alderman Isn't Providing Answers
As for continuing calls from protesters for the him to resign, the mayor said he does not foresee any circumstances under which he would not serve his full term.