CHICAGO (CBS) — Just two years ago, the Laquan McDonald police shooting video was released.
As a result, the streets erupted in protest, and some thought Mayor Rahm Emanuel was on his way out. Now, however, members from certain communities are singing a different tune.
CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley looked at Emanuel’s resurrection, and how he managed to pull it off.
In 2015, protesters repeatedly shut down Michigan Avenue holiday shopping to protest McDonald’s shooting. They took to the streets to also accuse Emanuel of suppressing the video.
“If the Mayor had done the standard political answer, which is to deny, defend and ignore, absolutely, we would not be talking about the same Rahm Emanuel we are today,” 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez said.
Instead, Emanuel embraced change.
“We cannot ask citizens in crime-ravaged neighborhoods to break the code of silence if we continue to allow a code of silence to exist within our own police,” the mayor said.
Emanuel created a stronger police oversight agency, Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), a police inspector general, and embraced the attorney general’s lawsuit seeking a federal court monitor for police.
But that’s not all, as 21st Ward Ald. Howard Brookins noted.
“He issued, or signed, legislation that allowed reparations for the Burge-era victims, when that’s something Mayor Daley never would have done,” he said.
The result, according to Brookins, is seen in Emanuel’s growing popularity among the black community.
“When you start looking at who the African American leadership is out there that could mount a credible challenge to the Mayor — there is none,” he said. “For that reason, I believe he’s the hands-on favorite to be reelected.
If, that is, Emanuel chooses to run — a choice most believe he’s already made.
“I think the mayor is in a stronger position than people thought he was going to be following Laquan McDonald,” Lopez said.
Ald. Lopez, who represents part of Englewood, says residents there also give Emanuel credit for a dramatic drop in violence in the neighborhood; homicides are down almost 50 percent from last year.