How Emanuel can deliver lasting police reforms before he leaves office

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Hundreds of potential jurors have put their lives on hold until at least next week as Chicago steels itself for the trial of Jason Van Dyke. He’s the police officer charged with first-degree murder in the shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s stunning announcement Tuesday pre-empted the spectacle of a parallel trial outside the courtroom. With Emanuel officially not running for re-election, the 12 remaining candidates lost the chance to remind voters — day after day after day — of how badly the mayor stumbled in response to the shooting.

Emanuel never really regained his footing. McDonald was killed on Oct. 20, 2014, as Emanuel prepared to run for a second term. Only after he’d been re-elected did the public learn details of the shooting — 16 shots, several of them fired after McDonald had collapsed in the road — and its mishandling by City Hall and the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Police officers closed ranks around Van Dyke. He remained on the payroll, on desk duty, for 13 months, with disciplinary proceedings on hold while the criminal investigation dragged on. City attorneys negotiated a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family — even before a lawsuit was filed — and fought to withhold a damning police video until a judge ordered its release.

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September 5, 2018 at 06:03PM

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