Sanders calls for accountability of Chicago officials

AP News
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Posted: Dec 04, 2015 8:22 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said Friday that any official involved with suppressing the release of a video of the shooting death of a black teen by a white Chicago police officer should be "held accountable" and, if necessary, resign.

Though Sanders never mentioned his name, the comments appeared aimed at Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a long-time ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton and former White House chief of staff to President Barack Obama.

"Any elected official with knowledge that the tape was being suppressed or improperly withheld should resign. No one should be shielded by power or position," Sanders said in a statement.

The October 2014 squad-car video showing police killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald first surfaced while Emanuel was running for re-election and seeking support among the city's black community.

The recent release of the footage led to days of demonstrations in Chicago and prompted Emanuel to fire Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy on Tuesday.

Emanuel also announced Tuesday that he has created a task force for police accountability and the expanded use of body cameras.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago has said it is actively investigating the case. Lisa Madigan, the state's attorney general, asked the Justice Department on Tuesday to investigate whether the police department's practices violate federal and constitutional law.

Hillary Clinton, Sanders' rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called for a federal investigation into the death but has stopped short of asking Emanuel to resign.

At a campaign event Friday in Fort Dodge, Iowa, Clinton said Emanuel "loves Chicago and I'm confident he's going to do everything he can to get to the bottom of these issues and take whatever measures are necessary to remedy them."

Both candidates have been working hard to woo black voters by focusing on policies to reform the criminal justice system. Last month, Clinton met with the mothers of several black men who were killed by police officers in Chicago.

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Associated Press writer Brian Bakst contributed to this report from Fort Dodge, Iowa.