CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel apologized Wednesday for the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, which has become the focus of a police misconduct scandal that has proved to be the most serious crisis of his tenure, and has prompted a federal probe of the Chicago Police Department.
“What happened on Oct. 20, 2014, should never have happened. Supervision and leadership in the Police Department and the oversight agencies that were in place failed, and that has to change,” Emanuel said, referring to the night McDonald was shot and killed by Officer Jason Van Dyke.
“I am the mayor. As I said the other day, I own it. I take responsibility for what happened, because it happened on my watch, and if we’re going to fix it, I want you to understand it’s my responsibility with you, but if we’re also going to begin the healing process, the first step is my step, and I’m sorry,” he added.
Weakened and embarrassed by a string of police shootings caught on video, an apologetic mayor delivered a special address to the City Council, describing how he plans to lead the city and Police Department forward from here.
The mayor said he has “reflected deeply” on McDonald’s shooting, and he said although McDonald was armed with a knife and agitated, it was a “routine” situation police should have been able to contain without taking a life.
“The majority of our officers do their job professionally every day, but 30 seconds after Officer Jason Van Dyke arrived, it was anything but routine or by the book. Sixteen shots were fired. A young man from Chicago died in the streets of Chicago. Nothing, nothing can excuse what happened to Laquan McDonald,” Emanuel said.