Chicago Mayor Will Announce Major Changes To Local Police to Appease Protesters

Casey Harper

As protesters call for his resignation, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will announce major changes to local law enforcement policies Wednesday in an effort to tamp down police violence.

One of the new policies states all officers who go out on service calls will have a Taser and be trained on how to use them, CNN reports. The policy will take effect June 1 and is part of a broader change in policies that will be announced Wednesday afternoon. Currently, about 20 percent of officers have Tasers.

Tasers are seen as an alternative to guns because they allow police to forcefully subdue a suspect without putting bullets in them. The announcement comes as protesters continue to call for Emanuel’s resignation after multiple police shootings that Black Lives Matter activists have rallied around.

One of the Chicago cases activists have rallied around is the death of Laquan McDonald. Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, was indicted with six counts of first-degree murder in the death of the 17-year-old, who is black, but pleaded not guilty Tuesday. The shooting occurred in October of last year. Van Dyke is also charged with one count of official misconduct.

The video of the event shows McDonald moving away from police as he is fatally shot 16 times. Authorities said McDonald had taken PCP and had a pocket knife.

The video drew national outrage and led to the firing of the police superintendent and calls for Emanuel’s resignation since the shooting happened more than a year ago, but charges were only now brought against a cop. Emanuel tried to keep the video hidden from the public and has dismissed calls for his resignation.

The department is now the under federal investigation. A similar case has sparked protests in Cleveland after a grand jury decided not to indict an officer involved in the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

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