Ever since Chicago released the dash camera footage of Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, residents have called for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. Those calls grew louder on Wednesday, after Emanuel apologized for how the city mishandled McDonald’s killing, saying it “happened on [his] watch,” and acknowledged decades-long failures of the Chicago Police Department (CPD).
And now there is a House bill to recall the controversial leader.
As protests gain momentum in Chicago, State Rep. La Shawn Ford (D) just introduced legislation in Springfield that would make the recall process less difficult. Under House Bill 4356, 88,610 signatures would have to be collected, including 50 from each ward in the city, for the Board of Elections to host a special recall election. If the current mayor is recalled, a separate election will be held for prospective candidates. The vice mayor will lead the city until the new mayor is elected and sworn in.
Emanuel’s approval rating has plummeted to 18 percent. Today, there is no real mechanism in the state constitution to remove him from office. The only way to do so would be to pass a recall bill in the city council and get Emanuel to sign off on it.
But Emanuel refuses to step down, so it is unlikely that he will agree to sign such a bill. In the past few weeks, he has tried to save face by establishing a new police task force and terminating Superintendent Garry McCarthy. He also announced the expansion of the CPD’s body camera program.
Earlier this week, Attorney General Loretta Lynch launched a Department of Justice investigation of CPD, in light of the McDonald video.