A guide to Chicago mayor's speech on police reform, protests

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Posted: Dec 09, 2015 7:47 PM
A guide to Chicago mayor's speech on police reform, protests

CHICAGO (AP) — With his police department and his own leadership under intense scrutiny, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel delivered an emotional speech Wednesday calling for widespread change to rebuild trust between African-American residents and the police, as well as ending what he called the normalization of gun violence.

Here's a rundown on Emanuel's address and the most recent developments with the Chicago Police Department, which will undergo a civil rights investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice:

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EMANUEL'S ADDRESS

The mayor told the City Council that he took responsibility for both the 2014 killing of a black teenager shot 16 times by a white officer and the city's handling of the case. He also apologized and promised "complete and total" reform. The release of video showing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald's killing set off weeks of protests.

The mayor, who at times worked himself nearly to tears, also declared: "No citizen is a second-class citizen in the city of Chicago."

"Talk is cheap," Chicago Alderman Howard Brookins said in reaction to the speech. "He can garner support if he is true to his word and if the reforms are meaningful and implemented swiftly."

Another alderman, Leslie Hairston, who is black, said she was particularly struck by the mayor's talk of unequal treatment because she was initially denied entrance to the council chamber Wednesday, while white colleagues went straight through without showing ID.

"I could not come through until I produced identification even though my picture was on the wall," she said.

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PROTESTS RESUME

The skepticism of Emanuel's promises extended to Chicago's streets, where crowds of protesters marched and blocked traffic near City Hall at midday and demanded Emanuel's resignation.

The rallies continued through the afternoon, blocking motorists along Chicago's Magnificent Mile shopping district and later in city neighborhoods.

The protests, which included prominent Chicago pastors, have been largely peaceful.

"We have some serious questions if there's ever going to be any trust again," said the Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church, according to WLS-TV.

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MCDONALD INVESTIGATION REDUX?

Emanuel and the new head of the agency that investigates police shootings said they want the city's inspector general to launch an investigation into the McDonald shooting.

Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting.

Both Emanuel and Sharon Fairley of the Independent Police Review Authority acknowledged that the U.S. Attorney's Office already is examining statements made by other officers on the scene — reports that portrayed McDonald as more threatening than he appeared on the video. That triggered accusations of a police cover-up.

But Fairley said it was important for "public confidence" that the inspector general get involved.

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JAIL PROBE

The police review authority also said it would reopen an investigation into the treatment of a 38-year-old black man who died in 2012 after officers used a stun gun on him and dragged him from a jail cell.

Fairley said there's "serious questions" about Philip Coleman's treatment.

The half-dozen officers were previously cleared of wrongdoing. But the city released a video this week of officers, several of whom are black, using the stun gun, then dragging an apparently unconscious Coleman away by his wrists. He'd been jailed after allegedly attacking his mother.

Officials have said he died later at a hospital after a reaction to an anti-psychotic drug.

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Associated Press writers Don Babwin and Michael Tarm contributed to this report.