Why Chicago pastors reject Mayor Emanuel's 'olive branch of peace'

Several Chicago pastors held a press conference this morning, demanding that footage depicting another white police officer shooting an unarmed black teenager be released to the public.

Teresa Crawford/AP
The Rev. Marvin Hunter (c.) the great uncle of Laquan McDonald, accompanied by other family members and supporters, speaks at a news conference Friday, in Chicago. The family of Laquan, a black teenager shot 16 times by a white Chicago police officer, stepped forward Friday, weeks after a video of the 2014 killing set off days of protests, calls for the mayor's resignation and demands for an overhaul of the police department.

Several prominent Chicago pastors have rejected Mayor Rahm Emanuel's "olive branch of peace" and are demanding that his administration release yet another video in which a white police officer fatally shot a black teenager.

Seventeen-year-old Cedrick Chatman was killed in January 2013 by police during an investigation into his suspected involvement in a car theft. The police account says that the officers feared that Cedrick had been reaching for a gun, but the object turned out to be a cellphone case.

The city of Chicago is fighting the release of that video, as they did the release of the video of black teenager Laquan McDonald being shot by a white officer. Laquan was also 17 years old at the time of the shooting. The city held off releasing that footage until after Mayor Emanuel had participated in a runoff vote for re-election.

Although Emanuel apologized publicly for the McDonald shooting, there have been continuous protests since the footage was released, contesting that the police attempted to cover up the incident. On Wednesday evening, demonstrators took to the streets demanding the mayor's resignation.

The city argues that the release of the Chatman footage would interfere with an unbiased trial, but three South Side pastors held a news conference early Friday morning to demand that the footage be released to the public.

“While the Mayor was speaking about community and respect and responsibility, he had lawyers in federal court blocking another video,” Bishop Tavis Grant told The Chicago Sun-Times, referring to Emanuel’s Wednesday speech at City Council. “Cedrick Chatman and his family is a good place to start in terms of making good on his apology.”

The pastors are circulating a petition of “no confidence” in Emanuel, and are supportive of a Chicago state lawmaker’s proposal to allow for the mayor to be removed from office, a measure that was introduced Wednesday.

“We want change that leads to justice,” Pastor Grant said.

This report contains material from the Associated Press.

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