Outside Emanuel’s home, protesters demand mayor’s resignation
Subscribe for unlimited digital access.
Try one month for $1!
Subscribe for unlimited digital access. Try one month for $1!
A group of protesters, numbering no more than 25 but with a message that carried, showed up at Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s North Side home on the day he was expected back from Cuba, vociferously demanding that he resign in the wake of several controversial police killings.
Their message wasn’t new. But the protesters’ chosen location was.
“We are here today to bring our message personal. We had to bring our message to Rahm Emanuel’s doorstep, because I guess he didn’t hear us. We’ve been protesting over a month, and he’s still in office. I guess he hasn’t been listening,” said Ja’Mal Green of SkyRocketing Teens Corp, among a burgeoning group of young black activists who have come to prominence over five weeks of protests.
Protests — and the demand for Emanuel’s resignation — have been ongoing since the city’s Nov. 24 release of the police dashcam video showing the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The teen was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, in the middle of Pulaski Road near 41st Street, in October 2014.
Protesters had successfully sought the firing of former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, and they have vowed to unseat Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez in March.
The small group headed to Emanuel’s Ravenswood home on Tuesday afternoon, the same day Van Dyke pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and official misconduct charges at the Cook County Criminal Courthouse.
Protesters say the mayor returned about 7 p.m. but did not come to the front door.
“Rahm Emanuel doesn’t seem to understand that we’re fed up. We’re fed up with his leadership in Chicago, and he has to resign,” Green said at an impromptu press conference outside the mayor’s home, as a line of about 10 officers guarded the house.
“Everything that he’s trying to do now that the pressure is on him should have been done 13 months ago, four years ago, or even in April when he got back in office, but instead, he waited. He waited until we were fed up,” Green said. “Rahm Emanuel, you are too far in the hole and you can’t get back out. So we need you to resign, and we need you to resign now.”
The protesters, with voices including former mayoral candidate William “Dock” Walls III; the Rev. Gregory Livingston of the Coalition for a New Chicago; and 16-year-old Lamon Reccord of Chicago Votes and Black Lives Matter, railed against last weekend’s police-involved killing of 55-year-old Bettie Jones and 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier in West Garfield Park.
“These young warriors are out here because they want Rahm to know that these executions that have been happening, as in this weekend’s killing of Quintonio and Bettie, is a bit too much. The police department has been committing what is tantamount to legal murder,” said Livingston, former manager of the mayoral campaign of businessman Willie Wilson, who ran against Emanuel earlier this year.
Coming only a month after the McDonald video, the shooting of LeGrier, a college student who was majoring in electrical engineering; and Jones, an innocent neighbor simply opening the door, has re-ignited already incendiary police-community relations. Chicago Police said LeGrier was shot after police “were confronted by a combative subject,” and that Jones “was accidentally struck and tragically killed.”
“Rahm has acknowledged the buck stops with him. So we want to say, ‘O.K. Rahm. You’ve failed. So it’s time to go,’ “Livingston said. “Rahm or his neighbors, they would never worry about police shooting them when they open their front door.”
The protesters, which started out with 10 to 15 people, grew in number over the course of several hours into the evening, chanting, “16 Shots And A Cover-Up!” And “Ho! Ho! Hey! Hey! Rahm Emanuel has got to go!” At one point, an ambulance was called after a protester slipped on Emanuel’s unshoveled front sidewalk. The protester was treated by paramedics on the site.
As for the mayor’s neighbors, two or three interestingly enough walked out of their homes to express support for the protesters. The majority, however, looked on from windows or front porches, irritated and displeased, with one man coming out to complain.