President Biden’s choice for U.S. Ambassador to Japan Rahm Emanuel explained his handling of the case of Laquan McDonald’s death in 2014 while he was mayor of Chicago, after being asked to do so during of its confirmation hearing on Wednesday.
Figures on the left, including Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., opposed the appointment of Emanuel over accusations he was involved in an attempt to cover up the nature of the death of McDonald’s, which occurred after being shot 16 times. by former police officer Jason Van Dyke.
BIDEN APPOINTS FORMER MAYOR OF CHICAGO RAHM EMANUEL AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN
“I then said that I am the mayor and that I am responsible for fixing this problem so that it never happens again,” Emanuel said when discussing the matter. “To be honest, not a day or a week has passed in the past seven years, I haven’t thought about that and thought about the assumptions and the changes and what could have been.”
The impropriety charges stem from the long delay in the release of a police video, which undermined previous reports that the shooting was justified. The footage was only made public when a judge ordered Emanuel to release it more than a year after McDonald’s death, arguing that the state had violated recording laws by failing to release them sooner. .
Emanuel explained during Wednesday’s hearing that shortly after the shooting there had been three simultaneous investigations into the case, and “a long-standing protocol and practice” dictated that nothing should be disclosed to avoid to compromise the integrity of these investigations.
The problem, Emanuel noted, is that “the longer the investigation lasts, the greater the mistrust and the greater the skepticism” about what is going on behind the scenes – that a cover-up could take place.
Ocasio-Cortez still believes there was a cover-up and blamed Biden for choosing Emanuel because of those suspicions.
“This appointment is deeply shameful. As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover the murder of Laquan McDonald – a simple teenager when he was shot. 16 times in the back by a Chicago police officer, “Ocasio-Cortez said in a statement.” That alone should be categorically disqualifying for any post of public trust, let alone representing the United States as an ambassador. “
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Emanuel went on to say that a politician like him would be “the last person you want to make a unilateral decision on whether to release a video” and that the call “should be made by professionals.”
“The moment a politician unilaterally makes a decision in the middle of an investigation, you have politicized that investigation, and more importantly, you may have endangered the charge and brought someone to justice,” a- he added.
Senator Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Took issue with Emanuel’s claim that he was unaware of the true nature of the shooting until the video was made public. Merkley took issue with Emanuel’s claim that his big mistake was to take at face value a police determination that this was a good shoot, which shaped his take on the matter until to the public release of the video.
The senator noted that the McDonald’s family viewed the footage before that date and reached a $ 5 million settlement agreement with the city of Chicago even before the McDonald’s family sued. Merkley doubted that this could have happened without Emanuel being informed of what had happened.
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Emanuel, who has always denied there was a cover-up, responded by saying he relied on a system that was “broken.”
Van Dyke was convicted of second degree murder. Three of his colleagues, Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Officer Joseph Walsh and former Detective David March, were found not guilty of obstruction of justice, official misconduct and conspiracy.
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