AOC urges Senate to reject Rahm Emanuel’s ‘deeply shameful’ nomination following police murder ‘cover up’

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Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, nominated to serve as US ambassador to Japan under Joe Biden, has been accused of staging a “cover up” and misleading the public in the police killing of Laquan McDonald in 2014.  (AP)
Former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, nominated to serve as US ambassador to Japan under Joe Biden, has been accused of staging a “cover up” and misleading the public in the police killing of Laquan McDonald in 2014. (AP)

US Rep Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called on the US Senate to reject Joe Biden’s nomination of Rahm Emanuel to US ambassador to Japan following the former Chicago mayor’s “cover up” of the police murder of Laquan McDonald.

“This nomination is deeply shameful,” the New York Democratic congresswoman said in statement on 1 September. “As mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald – a mere teenager when he was shot 16 times in the back by a Chicago Police Officer.”

Under Mr Emanuel’s mayoral administration, the city withheld video footage of the 2014 police killing of McDonald, who was fatally shot 16 times by Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Van Dyke as McDonald walked away from police.

Dashboard-mounted video footage of the murder wasn’t released until 13 months later. Initial police reports and internal reporting indicated the officer’s shooting was justified, leaving Van Dyke off the hook. Following release of the video, he was charged with first-degree murder, and three other officers involved where charged with conspiracy and obstruction of justice in connection with the cover-up.

Van Dyke was later found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

Mr Emanuel – a former White House chief of staff under Barack Obama – was accused of misleading the public ahead of his re-election campaign, prompting widespread protests demanding his resignation.

A scathing report from the US Department of Justice in 2017 revealed a history of excessive force in the department, lack of proper training oversight, and disproportionate attacks against people of colour.

“This alone should be flatly disqualifying for any position of public trust, let alone representing the United States as an ambassador,” the congresswoman said. “That the Biden administration seeks to reward Emanuel with an ambassadorship is an embarrassment and betrayal of the values we seek to uphold both within our nation and around the world. I urge the Senate to vote NO on his confirmation.”

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