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Chicago police shooting looms over Rahm Emanuel’s confirmation as envoy to Japan

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19.10.2021

WASHINGTON (AP) — The fatal police shooting of a Black teen in Chicago seven years ago is looming large over the city’s former mayor, Rahm Emanuel, as he looks to win confirmation as United States President Joe Biden’s ambassador to Japan.

Several liberal House lawmakers and activists complain that Emanuel’s handling of the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times as he ran away from police, should have disqualified him for consideration for a coveted role. They see the nomination as out of sync with the values of an administration that says “comprehensive and meaningful police reform” is a priority.

Emanuel’s administration refused to make public police dash cam video of the killing for more than a year and not until being compelled to do so by a state court. He later apologized for his handling of the situation, which sparked weeks of mostly peaceful protests in the nation’s third-largest city after the video’s release.

Emanuel is set to appear before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday for his confirmation hearing, which is occurring on the seventh anniversary of McDonald’s murder.

Emanuel’s reputation for sharp elbows — developed over nearly 40 years in national politics as a congressman and top adviser to former US presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — is also part of the backdrop as he tries to demonstrate that he has the temperament for international diplomacy, particularly in protocol-conscious Japan.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday pushed back against the criticism, saying Biden’s “commitment to police reform speaks for itself.”

She added: “At the same time, he selects and has nominated a range of ambassadors to serve the United States overseas because of their qualifications, whether it’s from business, public service, or other reasons that would make them qualified for these positions.”

If confirmed, Emanuel, who is Jewish, will be Biden’s chief envoy to Japan at a moment when the two nations are looking to strengthen ties as........

© The Times of Israel


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