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A Chicago columnist asked a while back whether Rahm Emanuel would have been re-elected if that video of the death of Laquan McDonald had been released before the election–and six months after Laquan’s death. The video shows that the boy was walking away from the police when he was shot sixteen times. The mayor or someone in his administration refused to release the video. Since it was made public, there was yet another police killing; two people died, a mentally troubled adolescent and a 55-year-old mother of five who made the mistake of opening her door to see what was happening.
Some commentators say the protesters in the streets are the same people who voted for the Mayor’s election opponent, Chuy Garcia. Others think that Rahm is in deep trouble.
This article in the Washington Post says that Rahm is under siege, and it is personal. It is not only the actions of the police that have burst his bubble, but lingering anger about his abrupt closure of 50 public schools, almost every one of them located in a black or brown neighborhood, disrupting the lives of children who need security and continuity, not disruption.
The protests reflect frustration with chronic problems Emanuel inherited in Chicago, a city long plagued by police brutality, failing schools, rampant gang violence and dire finances. But as Emanuel enters his second term, critics say he has deepened distrust in City Hall through a string of scandals affecting his administration, a lack of transparency and his abrasive personal style.
More anger may be on the way.
The Chicago Teachers Union voted overwhelmingly to authorize a strike, which may happen this spring. The public schools have been subject to repeated budget cuts, losing teachers, programs, and services, while the hand-picked school boards continues to open new charter schools, which will be lavishly funded by their benefactors.
How much more can the city take?