Police shooting looms over Emanuel in confirmation battle

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The deadly police shooting of a black teen in Chicago seven years ago is coming down heavily on the city’s former mayor, Rahm Emanuel, as he seeks to win confirmation as President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Japan

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Several liberal House lawmakers and activists have complained that Emanuel’s handling of the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times while fleeing from police, disqualified him to be considered for a prestigious role. Should have done it. They see enrollment as out of sync with the values ​​of the administration which say “comprehensive and meaningful police reform” is a priority.

Emanuel’s administration refused to make public police dash cam videos for more than a year and not until forced to do so by a state court. He later apologized for his handling of the situation, which sparked mostly peaceful protests in the country’s third-largest city, after the video was released.


Emanuel is set to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing on the seventh anniversary of the McDonald’s assassination.

Emanuel’s reputation for sharp elbows—developed over nearly 40 years in national politics as a congressman and top adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama—is also part of the background as he tries to demonstrate that his Has a flair for international diplomacy, especially a protocol-conscious Japan.

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki hit back against the criticism Tuesday, saying Biden’s “commitment to police reform speaks for itself.”

Saki said, “At the same time, he selects and nominates many ambassadors to serve the United States overseas because of their qualifications, whether for business, public service, or other reasons that would enable them to hold these positions.” qualify for.”

If confirmed, Emanuel will be Biden’s chief envoy to Japan at a time when the two countries are looking to strengthen ties as their common adversary, with China cementing its position as an economic and national security competitor in the Pacific. Have done.

The White House is confident that Emanuel will be confirmed by the Senate despite sharp criticism from many of the president’s aides in the party’s liberal wing of the House, whose members do not vote on confirmation.

So far, no Senate Democrats have publicly said they would vote against Emanuel. The White House also expects to win support from several Senate Republicans, including some who worked with him in the House in 2003 and 2009.

Sen. Bill Haggerty, R-Ten., who served as former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Tokyo, is set to introduce Emanuel to the committee.

Among the most important Democrats in Emanuel’s nomination are Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, who called the pick “extremely shameful,” and Rep. Corey Bush, who has told the Senate to “do the right thing and block his nomination.”

The head of the NAACP and several police reform activists have also spoken out against the nomination of Emanuel, who was also in the running to become Biden’s transportation secretary.

The release of a McDonald’s video – which showed the teen being shot repeatedly as he was fleeing from police – prompted the city to make several changes to policies on police cameras, the use of force, and training. Months before the video’s release, the city agreed to pay McDonald’s family $5 million.

Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot McDonald 16 times. Was convicted of second-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated assault and sentenced to six years and nine months in prison. The episode strained Emanuel’s relationship with the city’s larger black community.

Before the hearing, eight black members of Chicago’s City Council, who had been Emanuel’s aide during his tenure and the former deputy mayor, wrote to the Foreign Relations Committee, calling for the city’s public schools to lengthen the day and others who benefited from the long run. Praised Emanuel for taking the step – neglected black neighborhoods.

McDonald’s great-uncle Rev Martin Hunter also wrote to the committee on Emanuel’s behalf, arguing that he had “inherited a deeply flawed system” on police investigations that had tied his hands.

“There’s more to this person than a caricature being presented in public,” Hunter wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

After leaving the mayor’s office, Emanuel was a fierce advocate for Biden’s successful White House run and served as a TV political analyst. According to financial disclosure documents, he earned $13 million from his work as a senior advisor to investment banking firm Centerview Partners Advisory Holdings.

In Chicago, a group of activists on Tuesday called on the Senate to reject Emanuel’s nomination, noting that McDonald’s shooting his tenure as mayor, in addition to shooting dozens of public schools and a number of mental health workers in predominantly minority neighborhoods. Health clinics were closed. City facing budget crunch

As soon as he left office, the city was burdened with more than $30 billion in pension debt owed to city workers, the bulk of it from previous Mayor Richard M. Deli’s administration was inherited.

“I’m living afterward,” said Chima “Naira” Ikoro, an activist and writer on Chicago’s South Side. “There are students who have been displaced who never went to school because of this…

Credit: www.independent.co.uk / Joe Biden

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