- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel resisted calls for his resignation Wednesday in the furor over the police shooting death of a black teen by a white police officer, and his old friends at the White House didn’t exactly rush to his defense.

Mr. Emanuel, who fired the police superintendent this week, said he won’t step down.

“We have a process called the election,” the mayor said at a tense event sponsored by Politico. “The voters spoke. I’ll be held accountable for the decisions and actions that I make.”

Critics including city activists, filmmaker Spike Lee and The New York Times op-ed page have called for Mr. Emanuel to resign. The White House, where Mr. Emanuel served as President Obama’s first chief of staff, said it’s up to the people of Chicago whether he should keep his job in the wake of protests over the police shooting of a black teenager.

“That’s a decision for Mayor Emanuel and the voters of Chicago to make,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. “The citizens of the city of Chicago will have to determine who should be running the city. That’s why we have elections.”

Mr. Obama “is obviously aware of the quite intense national [media] coverage” of the controversy, Mr. Earnest said, and has viewed the video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot to death by Jason Van Dyke, a white officer. But the president’s spokesman said he didn’t know whether Mr. Obama had spoken with the mayor in recent days.

The mayor this week forced out Chicago police Superintendent Garry F. McCarthy after the video was released to the public. He said the police chief had become “a distraction.”

Mr. Earnest said Mr. Emanuel’s proposed reforms for Chicago police “can’t be implemented with the flip of a switch.”

The Illinois attorney general has asked the Justice Department to conduct an investigation, saying the public’s trust in Chicago police has been broken.

Dashcam footage of the night of McDonald’s fatal shooting in October 2014 appeared to show the teen walking away from police as the officer opened fire. Although the city reached a $5 million settlement with the teen’s family, Mr. Emanuel said he had not watched the footage until it was made public last week.

Mr. Earnest said the president has refrained from commenting because he doesn’t want to be seen as influencing any investigations into the case.

Bernard Harcourt, a Columbia University law professor who worked at the University of Chicago until 2014, wrote in The New York Times that there was “a cover-up in Chicago” and that the mayor should resign.

“The city’s leaders have now brought charges against a police officer, Jason Van Dyke, for the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald,” he wrote. “But for more than a year, Chicago officials delayed the criminal process, and might well have postponed prosecution indefinitely, had it not been for a state court forcing their hand.”

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