Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday apologized for the shooting death of a black teenager by a white officer last year and pledged to fix a broken police department that “failed” the city.
“As I said the other day, I own it. I take responsibility for what happened because it happened on my watch,” Emanuel said in an address to Chicago’s City Council, according to NBC Chicago. “The first step in the journey is my step, and I’m sorry.”
The death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald “should never have happened,” the mayor said, adding that he won’t rest until he gains back the trust of Chicago residents.
McDonald was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke on Oct. 20, 2014. Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder and is currently free on bail.
“If we are going to fix it, I want you to understand it’s my responsibility,” said Emanuel, who has said he would not resign amid backlash over how his administration handled the shooting.
His rare 40-minute address comes a week after Emanuel fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy following the handling and release of police dash cam video of the fatal encounter.