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Keeping Rahm Emanuel Out

Victims and relatives of victims of police brutality in Chicago while Rahm Emanuel was mayor released a joint statement Thursday decrying President Biden’s reported plan to nominate Emanuel to be the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

“During his eight years in office, Emanuel displayed contempt for communities of color,” the statement said. “He showed callous disregard for terrible losses suffered by the families of those who were killed or brutalized by officers of the Chicago Police Department.”

The possibility that Rahm Emanuel will become the U.S. ambassador to Japan is abhorrent to those of us who continue to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to police violence that he aided and abetted as mayor of Chicago

The 28 signers of the statement declared: “The possibility that Rahm Emanuel will become the U.S. ambassador to Japan is abhorrent to those of us who continue to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to police violence that he aided and abetted as mayor of Chicago…. No president who is truly serious about stopping brutality and murders by police would nominate Rahm Emanuel for an important government post…. Rahm Emanuel became a symbol of lethal disrespect for Black lives. Making him a U.S. ambassador would make the U.S. government a similar symbol.”

The statement’s signers include many who encountered tragedy due to abuses by the Chicago Police Department during Emanuel’s mayoral administration, including:

  • Arewa Karen Winters, aunt of Pierre Loury, a 16-year-old who was killed by Chicago police in April 2016. Pierre was shot in the back as he was climbing a fence fleeing from the police. Video featuring Ms. Winters is being released today.
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  • Dorothy Holmes, mother of Ronald "Ronnie Man" Johnson, a father of five who was shot in the back by Chicago police eight days before 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed in 2014. Video featuring Ms. Holmes is being released today.
  • Emmett Farmer, father of Flint Farmer, who was shot in the back three times as he lay on the ground by a police officer in June 2011.

Below is the full text of the joint statement and list of signers.

The possibility that Rahm Emanuel will become the U.S. ambassador to Japan is abhorrent to those of us who continue to mourn the loss of our loved ones due to police violence that he aided and abetted as mayor of Chicago. During his eight years in office, Emanuel displayed contempt for communities of color. He showed callous disregard for terrible losses suffered by the families of those who were killed or brutalized by officers of the Chicago Police Department. What happened to Laquan McDonald is the best-known instance, but there were all too many others.

Remember that Chicago is the only city in the country where the state had to create a torture commission because of the crimes of the Chicago Police Department (CPD). CPD’s legacy of violence against the majority Black and Latino communities is why Chicago is now uniting to demand community control of the police.

When President Biden hosted the family of George Floyd at the White House recently, he issued a statement about the need to “collectively say enough of the senseless killings.” But the record is clear: Mayor Emanuel helped to deny and hide the realities of senseless killings by police in our city. No president who is truly serious about stopping brutality and murders by police would nominate Rahm Emanuel for an important government post.

We agree with Congressman Jamaal Bowman, who wrote: “Black Lives Matter can’t just be a slogan. It has to be reflected in our actions as a government, and as a people. Rewarding Rahm Emanuel’s cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s murder with an ambassadorship is not an act that reflects a value of or respect for Black lives.”

Rahm Emanuel became a symbol of lethal disrespect for Black lives. Making him a U.S. ambassador would make the U.S. government a similar symbol.

  • Arewa Karen Winters
  • Dorothy Holmes
  • Martinez Sutton
  • Kenyatta Brand
  • Emmett Farmer
  • Crista Noël
  • Armanda Shackelford
  • Frank Chapman
  • Mark Clements
  • Bertha Escamilla
  • Esther Hernandez
  • Carolyn J Ruff
  • Shasta Jones
  • Shasta Jackson
  • Yvonne Jones
  • Shapearl Wells
  • Christine Taylor
  • David Lincoln
  • Trina Townsend
  • Gloria Pinex
  • Cynthia Lane
  • Chantell Brooks
  • Tiffaney Boxley
  • Ruby Cavin-Adolfo
  • Sara Ortiz
  • Jonathan Projansky
  • Yolanda Arce
  • Anthanette Marshbanks