Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson and mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot are vowing to address issues in the city’s troubled policing reform process and its soaring murder rate following the acquittal of one of two officer-involved officers in the murder trial of Black teen Laquan McDonald.
Lightfoot, a former federal prosecutor and candidate for Chicago’s mayoral race, called for respect and “unmistakable consistency” in carrying out reform requirements outlined in a court-ordered federal consent decree, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“Although this was not a high-profile case and it is not the largest share of the department, it is a nationally watched court case that the city and police department need to fully cooperate with, and that doesn’t require panicking,” Lightfoot told the newspaper.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said he is open to changes to the consent decree, which was signed last year and requires police reforms from 2019 through 2021.
“The Constitution is very, very clear about a reasonable jury system of law. I can’t see any way for this particular decision to be overturned,” Lightfoot said in the Chicago Tribune interview. “But there should be sure that there is respect for this decision.”
A week of protest action took place last week in Chicago, including the arrests of hundreds of protesters. Some of those arrested have already been released, according to the Tribune.
On Friday, Officer Jason Van Dyke and Officer Joseph Walsh were acquitted of first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of McDonald.
“The Court heard all of the evidence that the city and the community had at hand, took that evidence, and rendered the verdict that the Court came to with after a monthlong bench trial and multiple witnesses who testified,” Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said in a statement. “Obviously I’m disappointed. However, my team will work to determine what internal operational and personnel policies we need to implement in order to improve the department’s daily operations.”
President Donald Trump said he was “very disappointed” with the acquittal and tweeted that it was “clearly a horrible decision and a travesty of justice.”
However, Mayor Rahm Emanuel called the verdict “the most fair and impartial.”