In striking new evidence that the children will save us all, a group of hero students were filmed calling out Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to his face on Tuesday.
The encounter happened while Emanuel was attending an event promoting the 125th anniversary of Chicago’s fabled “L” public transit system.
The children chanted “16 shots and a coverup!” at the mayor. That’s a reference to the 2014 killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Van Dyke. In the graphic body-cam footage–which Emanuel’s office attempted to suppress from public view after Van Dyke was charged with murder –McDonald is seen being shot at least 16 times. The eventual release of the video itself still left many unanswered questions, and there have been allegations of a cover-up in the investigation into the incident.
Just this past week, the Chicago Tribune reported that Emanuel had struck a tentative agreement with the Justice Department that would remove judicial oversight of the CPD’s reform plan. Former head of the Civil Rights Department at the Department of Justice Vanita Gupta called the agreement “woefully inadequate.”
According to the Twitter user who posted the video, the students featured in the video were already on the L trains trying to inform people about their rights if they are stopped by the police, when they ran into Emanuel at one of the stations.
One of the students, 7th grader Taurean Henson, told me in a phone interview that he was surprised to see the mayor in person.
“We started doing the chant about Mayor Rahm Emanuel, like ‘he’s got to go,’ and we did a chant, like ‘16 shots’ because Laquan McDonald–he got shot 16 times, and Rahm Emanuel covered it up,” he explained. “I hope that in the future if something like this happens, he doesn’t try to cover it up anymore, he just tells the truth,” the student added.
Henson also said he felt good taking the direct actions on Tuesday and that he hopes the adults who see the video are inspired to make a difference themselves. “They can do the same thing we are doing,” he said. “Sometimes when we do it, they don’t look at us or take it seriously because we are kids.”
Children really are the future.
Fusion has reached out to the mayor’s office for comment. We’ll update if we hear back.