CHICAGO (CBS) — Protesters who have been calling for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign ever since video of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was made public were not moved by the mayor’s apology Wednesday in a speech to the City Council.
Activists who have been protesting the McDonald shooting and other examples of alleged police misconduct clearly were not impressed with the mayor’s speech, in which he took responsibility for the McDonald shooting, and how the prolonged investigation and the city’s efforts to keep the video under wraps undermined public trust.
“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,” Emanuel said.
Several protesters stood just outside the City Council chamber as Emanuel was speaking, and at one point, a bit of chaos erupted as some protesters began shoving each other, before others stepped in to calm things down.
One local minister said he’s not convinced the mayor will bring any real change to the Chicago Police Department.
“We just witnessed the mayor basically put a Band-Aid on a gunshot wound,” said Bishop James Dukes, pastor of Liberation Christian Center in Englewood. “I think it was politically driven. I think he had to give a distinctive apology, at least say he was sorry, but the intent that was involved in it, I don’t think is there.”
Later around noon, hundreds of protesters met at Daley Plaza and began marching though the Loop and down Michigan Avenue through the Gold Coast, blocking intersections and causing traffic backups. They continued to march north to State and North in Lincoln Park, where police lined up to block access to the park. The protesters then marched south and dispersed.
CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole reports the afternoon protests were mostly peaceful, but early on it could have taken a different turn.
At the very beginning, Lamon Reccord, one of the march organizers, brushed by a police commander. He was taken into custody and the crowd began to grow angry, but a promise to remain peaceful and a promise by police to let the protests continue saw his release. Rev. Quovadis Green was there for the conversation.
“Went into the wagon and was able to talk to the commander…and the commander saw how determined we were for him not to go to jail and so because of that the commander said he would let him go,” Rev. Green said. “The commander was very fair. He was more than fair.”