US & Canada

Laquan McDonald death: Protests in Chicago after mayor apology

Protesters hold signs calling for Rahm Emanuel to resign Image copyright AP
Image caption Protesters chanted "16 shots and a cover-up" in reference to Laquan McDonald's death

An apology by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel over the shooting death of a black teenager by police has sparked peaceful protests in the city.

He said at a city council meeting he promises "complete and total" reform after the death of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times.

Hundreds of people blocked traffic and chanted "16 shots and a cover-up", demanding Mr Emanuel resign.

Jason Van Dyke, the white officer who shot McDonald, was charged with murder.

"I take responsibility for what happened because it happened on my watch," said Mr Emanuel.

"And if we're going to fix it, I want you to understand it's my responsibility with you.

"But if we're also going to begin the healing process, the first step in that journey is my step."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Protesters are calling for Rahm Emanuel to resign
Image copyright AP
Image caption Rahm Emanuel apologised for the police department's failure

He criticised the police department for its actions and said its "supervision and leadership" had failed.

The apology was not enough for protesters, who broke through a police line and marched down Michigan Avenue, one of the main streets of the city.

Some participated in a sit-in, which appeared peaceful but blocked traffic.

A video of the shooting was kept from the public for more than a year and only ordered to be released by a judge in November.

Days of protests followed, and Mr Emanuel announced a new police accountability task force and fired the police chief, but many say the mayor was complicit in a cover-up of the McDonald case and must go.

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