Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, currently under fire for covering up the murder of a black teen by police, is set to headline a national conference panel on how to reduce violence and make people trust police. Emanuel’s scheduled appearance at a national meeting of mayors was announced by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in a press release Tuesday morning.
“Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will participate in a panel discussion on Reducing Violence and Strengthening Policy/Community Trust at the top of the Opening Plenary Session on Wednesday, January 20,” the press release boasts.
Emanuel is currently fighting for his political life after his administration covered up the murder of Laquan McDonald by police in order to protect Emanuel’s political reputation in the midst of a heated Democratic primary in 2015. Emanuel and his top staff, who agreed to settle a multi-million dollar wrongful death suit brought by McDonald’s family, suppressed video of the shooting for months. The video did not become public until a judge ordered its release. The same day the video was finally released, the police officer shown on film shooting McDonald while he was on the ground was charged with murder.
Various news reports following the court-ordered release of the dashcam video showing Laquan McDonald’s murder indicate that Emanuel and his top staff were well aware of what it showed when they agreed to pay McDonald’s family $5 million to drop its lawsuit against the city of Chicago. In drafts of the settlement agreement, Rahm Emanuel’s lawyers even tried to get Laquan McDonald’s family to agree to keep the dashcam video secret until Emanuel was no longer in office:
Emanuel had maintained since McDonald’s death that he has never seen the dash-cam video, but the emails prove the mayor knew exactly what the footage showed when city lawyers negotiated a deal that would at least delay the video’s release. Attorneys for McDonald’s estate sent Platt screenshots of the video and a detailed description:
“After Laquan immediately spun to the ground, graphic puffs of smoke from ricochet shots establishes that Officer Van Dyke continued to fire his weapon for approximately 16 seconds after Mr. McDonald laid helplessly in the street.”
Emanuel’s lawyers were offering $5 million in hush money to keep this hidden just weeks before the runoff election. And the biggest part of the deal—that McDonald family attorneys agreed to keep the video to themselves until criminal proceedings were concluded—just so happened to be inked the day after Emanuel was re-elected.
The full press release announcing Rahm Emanuel’s participation in a national conference panel on how to reduce urban violence and strengthen trust between communities and police can be read here.