CHICAGO – Awaiting a confirmation vote to become the next U.S. Ambassador to Japan, former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel received an endorsement from an unlikely source: Pastor Marvin Hunter, the great uncle to Laquan McDonald.
Many argue that Emanuel’s handling of the 17-year-old’s death, who was shot 16 times by police, should disqualify him for consideration for a coveted role. Some local organizations are also unhappy that McDonald’s family has seemingly endorsed Emanuel for the position. But Rev. Hunter said that the family had forgiven the former mayor, adding that they never wanted revenge, only justice.
“When I looked at the facts before this letter was written, I realized that Rahm Emanuel did not pull the trigger,” Rev. Hunter said.
In his quest to win Senate approval for ambassadorship, Rahm secured letters of support from prominent Chicagoans, including Rev. Hunter.
“He speaks to my person and my character, not just my professional abilities,” Rahm said.
Reverend Hunter said the two spoke at great length and even prayed together. The former mayor apologized for the way he mishandled the murder of Laquan McDonald and asked for forgiveness.
“As a man of God, I felt like I had a moral responsibility to forgive him, but not all of us feel that way,” Hunter said.
Hunter has received some backlash for the endorsement, but he says those people are just looking for revenge.
“We don’t want revenge. What we want is justice,” Hunter said. “And people, it doesn’t serve justice for us to continue to birddog a man who has asked for forgiveness.”
Earlier in the week, a group gathered outside Chicago police headquarters to protest. Chants of “Reject Rham, Reject Rahm” could be heard. As a result, organizations like ‘Black Lives Matter’ spoke out against Emanuel’s nomination.
“We are not going to forget the wrong that Rahm has done, even though you may find it in your heart to forgive him,” one protester said.
Hunter fired back, however, saying people need to focus on fighting a corrupt system rather than pointing fingers at Chicago’s former mayor.
“Rahm Emanuel was a victim of the system that he was elected to and worked for. That system is our problem,” he said. “And I will redirect my people and ask them to help me fight the system that has perpetuated the death of Black young boys and girls across the country.”