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Rahm Emanuel Says Officer Who Killed Laquan McDonald 'Had No Justification'

By  Ted Cox and Erica Demarest | November 23, 2015 4:22pm | Updated on November 23, 2015 5:31pm

 Rahm Emanuel says the police officer who shot Laquan McDonald had no justification.
Rahm Emanuel says the police officer who shot Laquan McDonald had no justification.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

SOUTH LOOP — Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday said the police shooter of Laquan McDonald would be held "accountable" and called on Chicagoans to be "peaceful" and "responsible" in responding to the release of the dashcam video of the killing.

Emanuel did not say when the dashcam video of the October 2014 shooting would be released, but a judge has ruled it must be by Wednesday, and others have warned they are "concerned" about the potentially explosive public response.

Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed reported the video will be released at 3 p.m. Wednesday — and the officer could be charged as soon as Tuesday.

Following a media event at the Spertus Museum Monday, Emanuel addressed the issue and offered no consolation to Jason Van Dyke, the police officer accused of shooting the teenager 16 times as other officers stood by.

Emanuel went on to call the incident "a violation of your conscience, and it is wrong, and it was hideous," although he granted that he had not actually seen the video.

"He was stripped of his police authority," Emanuel said. "This officer didn't uphold the law — in my view, took the law into his own hand. Didn't build the trust that we want to see and wasn't about protecting safety and security. So at every point he violated" the public trust.

Therefore, Emanuel added, "You're gonna be, in my view, held accountable for that action."

He acknowledged that in a conference call trying to urge calm with local leaders, he said the shooting had "no justification." Emanuel added, however, that by the union contract the officer could not be dismissed until the investigation was complete.

The officer's attorney could not be reached for comment Monday.


Federal and local authorities continue to investigate the shooting, which has already led the city to agree to a $5 million settlement with the McDonald family.

On Monday, a spokeswoman for Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said her office "has been engaged in an active and ongoing investigation into the shooting death of Laquan McDonald," adding, "We have been working with our investigative partners at the federal level to conduct a comprehensive investigation." But there was no word of any impending charges.

The mayor called upon all city residents to act as "stakeholders" with an interest in preserving the peace.

"Everybody has a role in this city, as stakeholders, to help us to continue to build this city," he said. "People have the right [to protest] and should exercise their First Amendment right," he added, but he urged them to "do it in a focused way, a responsible way, so your voices and your ideas are heard."

He also asked that demonstrations be "peaceful" and serve to "bring healing together."

He had strong words for the media as well, saying, "Your job is to report the news, not see what event to create and then try to report on that."

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