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Rahm Emanuel Denies Cover-Up of Police Video of Teen’s Death

As pressure mounts for his resignation after the year-long delay of the release of police dashcam video of the 2014 shooting of an African American teen, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is denying charges that he delayed the release of the video in order to smooth the way for his re-election eight months ago.

With calls for his resignation getting louder, Emanuel, President Obama’s first chief of staff, published an op ed for the Chicago Tribune denying there was any cover up of police misconduct and saying that politics had nothing to do with the delay. In his December 4 op-ed, Emanuel strenuously denied that the city held back on the video or political reasons.

“What I strongly reject is the suggestion that the videotape of the McDonald shooting was withheld from the public because of the election,” Emanuel wrote.

“The videotape was handled in precisely the same way such tapes and evidence have been historically,” the mayor insisted. “Longstanding practice has been to release such material only after prosecutors and city investigators have finished their investigation. The reason for that was to prevent potential witnesses from tailoring their stories to fit the evidence.”

But Emanuel’s claims that there was no cover up and that the video was not withheld to ease his re-election campaign do not wash with many in the city.

Even as protesters were first flooding the streets after the release of the video in November, some were claiming that the video was held back to clear the way for the mayor’s re-election.

Voices are reaching outside Chicago for the mayor to resign, as well. Only days ago The New York Times joined those in Chicago demanding that Emanuel resign his office, saying that people no longer have any confidence in city hall.

The famed New York paper is not alone. Similarly citing the lack of “trust” citizens now have in Chicago’s city hall, on December 4 James E. Causey, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, also penned a piece calling for Emanuel to step down.

“Rahm Emanuel has to go,” Causey wrote. “The Chicago mayor must resign immediately to restore trust in a city still reeling from the public execution of a teenager by a police officer more than a year ago.”

Emanuel hasn’t completely stonewalled the demands of protesters. Since the dashcam video was released, protesters began calling for Emanuel to fire the city’s police chief, Superintendent Garry McCarthy. After nearly a week of protests, Emanuel finally bowed to the demands and fired McCarthy even though he spent the entire previous week saying that McCarthy had his full confidence.

The recent op-ed comes on the heels of his claims when Emanuel said that he would not resign over the shooting of the 17-year-old. Emanuel told Politico’s Mike Allen that he sees no reason to step aside because “We have a process called the election.” Clearly Emanuel is employing the President’s one time quip, “I won,” to justify his actions. The president last played the “I won” card back in 2013 when he said that Republicans would just have to deal with it because he won. He made a similar comment in 2010.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com

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