WIUM Tristates Public Radio

'Tears Aren't Enough': Black Lawmakers Seek Greater Response From Governor Rauner

Jan 1, 2016

Black legislators say Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner hasn’t done enough in the wake of the release of police shootings of LaQuan McDonald and other African Americans.

When asked by reporters, Gov. Rauner said he cried after watching the 2014 video of black Chicago teenager LaQuan McDonald getting shot 16 times by a city cop.

“That video — shocking, terrifying. I cried for the young man who was brutally shot," he said.

In recent days officers responding to a call killed two other black Chicagoans.

In a public letter released this week, members of Illinois’ legislative black caucus collectively write that “tears aren’t enough.” It says Rauner’s silence in the wake of recent events is “deafening.”

“We need the voice … the governor’s voice rings loud about his Turnaround Agenda but what, we want turnaround in terms of the way policing is done," said Sen. Kwame Raoul, a Chicago Democrat and member of the Black Caucus. “There were some members of the black caucus who felt that as the chief executive of the state, in this crisis moment, we need to hear vocal leadership from the governor on this issue of professional policing and making sure that people were not losing their lives unnecessarily.”

Raoul says he does credit Rauner with having signed a police enforcement law taking effect in 2016, but that more needs to be done. He's raised the prospect of licensing police.

The governor’s spokeswoman says he supports a federal investigation of the Chicago police department and that Rauner’s open to ideas for improving police accountability.