The Chicago mayor and former Obama chief of staff who likes to talk and act tough may have found himself with his back against a wall. With pressure mounting over a recent string of police shootings, Illinois legislators might now consider allowing voters to recall Rahm Emanuel, ousting him from office.
The Associated Press reports that at present, state law only allows for recalls of governors, but now state Rep. La Shawn Ford, a fellow Democrat, has expressed his desire to extend that recall power to the office of mayor.
Given the city's current turmoil, Ford said that a recall measure is "clearly the right thing to have on the books." According to AP:
Ford introduced his bill on Dec. 9, the day Emanuel addressed the Chicago City Council and apologized for the death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white police officer in October 2014. Emanuel's apology came a couple of weeks after the release of police dashcam video that appeared to show McDonald walking away from officers when he was shot. The video triggered protests and calls for Emanuel's resignation.
Emanuel has said he won't step down.
"We understand there's a desire by some to insert politics into this discussion, but the mayor's focus is not on his own personal politics," Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins said in a statement. "His focus is on taking the action necessary to finally and fully address an issue that has challenged Chicago for decades, and reform the system and culture of policing in Chicago."
Under Ford's proposal, two city aldermen would have to sign an affidavit agreeing with a recall petition and organizers must collect more than 88,000 signatures from registered voters in the city. At least 50 signatures must come from each of 50 wards.
The proposal would pre-empt local law, so it needs approval from two-thirds of each chamber of the Illinois Legislature to pass during the session that starts this month. The bill would be effective immediately if signed into law, a scenario that can pose legal questions because it would target someone currently in office, said David Melton, executive director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.
It seems Chicago Democrats love affair with Rahmbo is finally over.