Eight black Chicago aldermen bought off by Emanuel, Chicago area newspaper says
A Chicago area newspaper that specializes in minority reporting is questioning whether eight black city council members were bought off with campaign donations in a $5 million legal settlement paid in a teenager's 2014 shooting death by a city police officer.
The eight aldermen voted with city council's other 39 aldermen to approve the settlement with the family of Laquan McDonald more than a month after receiving almost $300,000 in campaign donations from now out-going Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, The Chicago Crusader reported Oct. 3.
"The Crusader has learned that these aldermen kept the money and stayed silent about it even after the video of McDonald's brutal killing emerged, sowing distrust in the mayor, the police department and the Cook County States' Attorney office," said the article, which ran under the headline "Bought for their Silence?"
"Now, the spotlight turns on a group of aldermen who have their own code of silence," the report said.
The Chicago Crusader's investigative article was published two days before Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was convicted in the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old McDonald. On Friday, Oct. 5, a jury found Van Dyke guilty of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery
Last month, former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who is running amid a wide field of candidates in next month's General Election to replace Emanuel as Mayor of Chicago, referred to the city's settlement with McDonald's family as "a cover-up."
The Chicago Crusader article said that the eight black aldermen who accepted campaign donations from Emanuel were Anthony Beale (9th Ward), Carrie Austin (34th Ward), Michelle Harris (8th Ward), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th Ward), Emma Mitts (37th Ward), Willie Cochran (20th Ward), Pat Dowell (3rd Ward) and Howard Brookins Jr. (21st Ward). A ninth alderman, Patrick O'Connor (40th Ward), who is not black, also accepted campaign donations from Emanuel at the time, according to the article, which cited campaign records.
"For the next several years after the $5 million settlement, they would give the mayor his money's worth," the article said. "They would stand by Emanuel as he weathered a storm that he tried to ride out until he announced on September 4, 2018 that he would not seek re-election.''