Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is meeting today with the U.S. Justice Department to open the city's arms to a sweeping civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department he once called “misguided,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Emanuel said two of his top aides flew to Washington. D.C.. last week to meet the feds on their own turf. And he plans to do the same to set the tone for what is certain to be a protracted, but beneficial process. “We welcome them. They're here. We're going to be fully cooperative — everybody. And it is in our self-interest as a city that they're here because the problems and the challenges we have in the sense of police and community relations and the changes that we need are deep-seeded. They go way back,” the mayor said.
Two weeks ago, Emanuel branded Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's call for a federal civil rights investigation to restore public trust “broken” by the police shooting of Laquan McDonald “misguided.” He argued that it made no sense to add “an additional layer” of investigation when the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office in Chicago had not completed their investigation of the McDonald shooting that has already dragged on for more than a year. “They are doing a thorough job. Hitting the restart button on a whole new investigation does not get you to the conclusion in an expedited fashion,” he said then. One day later, the mayor did an abrupt about-face. He said he “welcomed” a federal investigation of “systemic issues embedded in” the police department and said, “I own the confusion” about his earlier opposition to the probe. Emanuel's abrupt change came after Hillary Clinton, Gov. Bruce Rauner, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin and just about every other political leader sided with Madigan and after it became clear that the Justice Department was coming whether the mayor liked it or not.