President Joe Biden is reportedly considering giving Rahm Emanuel a plum job that would make the former Chicago mayor the U.S. ambassador to Japan, but Black Chicago is trying to block the nomination.
The effort to derail the high-profile ambassadorship was brought on by allegations that Emanuel tried to cover up the police murder of a Black man.
“Rahm Emanuel does not deserve to be the ambassador of anything,” said Dorothy Holmes, mother of Ronald Johnson, who was shot by Chicago police in 2014, according to The Daily Beast. “Rahm Emanuel belongs behind bars.”
Johnson was shot in the back and Emanuel’s administration tried to block the release of police dashcam footage.
More than two dozen victims of police violence in Chicago and their relatives released a joint statement on June 10 condemning Biden’s reported choice of ambassador, accusing the former two-term mayor and White House chief of staff for President Barack Obama of “contempt for communities of color” during his time as mayor, The Daily Beast reported.
“Emanuel ‘became a symbol of lethal disrespect for Black lives,’” the letter stated. Making him an ambassador “would make the U.S. government a similar symbol.”
Among those who signed the letter were Holmes, Emmett Farmer (father of Flint Farmer, who was shot by police three times as he lay on the ground in 2011) and Crista Noël, an activist with Women’s All Points Bulletin, which works to end police violence against women in Chicago.
Activists claim Emanuel has a history of trying to cover up police murders of Black men in Chicago, including the murder of Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
McDonald, 17, was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer while he was walking away from the police. His death led to nationwide protests after Emanuel tried to stop the release of the police dashcam footage. It wasn’t until Emanuel was re-elected in 2015 that the city council later awarded McDonald’s family $5 million for the teenager’s wrongful death, The Chicago Tribune reported. The police officer who shot McDonald was later convicted of second-degree murder.
“Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted in November 2020 after Biden won the election. “Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership.”
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Due to his scandal-ridden legacy as mayor of Chicago, Emanuel was eventually passed over for secretary-level positions in Biden’s cabinet, as well as lower-tier roles like U.S. trade representative, for which he was also briefly considered.
Following his exit from Chicago politics, Emanuel left politics and jumped into the swamp. The longtime Democrat insider joined the Wall Street investment banking firm Centerview Partners LLC and opened a Chicago office as a senior counselor for the company.