Chicago Mayor Emanuel apologizes for police problems, promises reform

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Laquan McDonald Shooting: 'I'm Sorry'

CHICAGO (Reuters) -- Mayor Rahm Emanuel, under heavy criticism for his handling of a police shooting that resulted in the death of a black teen, apologized on Wednesday for problems with the police department and promised reform.

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Protests in Chicago following Laquan McDonald shooting by police conviction
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Chicago Mayor Emanuel apologizes for police problems, promises reform
Two men are detained near Pioneer Court on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders held a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Apple store employees, top, look to protesters lined up outside the Apple store on North Michigan Avenue, Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders held a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" on Black Friday in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Protesters make their way up North Michigan Avenue on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders hold a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Iggy Flow, right, talks to police officers on North Michigan Avenue on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders hold a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Lamon Reccord, right, stares and yells at a Chicago police officer "Shoot me 16 times" as he and others march through Chicago's Loop Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, one day after murder charges were brought against police officer Jason Van Dyke in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, file photo, a protester holds a sign as people rally for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Department Officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago. McDonald, whose name demonstrators are shouting as they march the streets and plan to shut down the cityâs glitziest shopping corridor on Friday, lived a troubled life full of disadvantages and at least one previous brush with the law. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty, File)
Protesters form a line and walk holding signs that spell out 'Laquan' following the release of a dash-cam video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being fatally shot 16 times by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, on Tuesday, Nov. 24 2015, in Chicago. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Demonstrators sit in Michigan Ave. along Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile shopping district, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, during a protest the day after murder charges were brought against police officer Jason Van Dyke in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Protesters gesture near Chicago police while trying to enter an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Chicago police form a line to prevent protesters from entering an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Protesters take to the streets in Chicago following the release of a dash-cam video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being fatally shot 16 times by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, on Tuesday, Nov. 24 2015. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Demonstrators confront police during a protest following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Chicago Police form a line to keep a protest for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald from entering Grant Park, early Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Chicago. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Chicago police form a line to prevent protestors from entering an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Authorities form a line to prevent protesters from entering an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Police stand guard as demonstrators march through downtown during a protest following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Protesters scuffle with Chicago police while trying to enter an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Protesters scuffle with Chicago police while trying to enter an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Bus passengers watch as demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Authorities form a line to prevent protesters from entering an expressway on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, in Chicago. White Officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Demonstrators march through downtown following the release of a video showing Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was charged today with first degree murder for the October 20, 2014 shooting in which McDonald was hit with 16 bullets. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Protesters shut down a street during a protest for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald early Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Chicago. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Protesters shut down a street during a protest for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald early Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Chicago. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
Protesters march during a demonstration for 17-year-old Laquan McDonald early Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Chicago. Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who shot McDonald 16 times last year, was charged with first-degree murder Tuesday, hours before the city released a video of the killing. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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In an emotional speech with his voice occasionally breaking, the mayor of the nation's third-largest city reiterated reform steps he has already promised. These include setting up a task force to review police accountability, the appointment of a new head of the agency that handles police misconduct and searching for a new police superintendent.

He aimed particular criticism at the "code of silence" that keeps police officers from reporting misconduct by fellow officers.

Emanuel's speech comes after two weeks of protests in Chicago following the release of a 2014 police squad car dashboard video showing police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke, who is white, was charged with first-degree murder late last month.

High-profile killings of black men by mainly white police officers in U.S. cities have prompted a national debate and protests about the use of excessive force by police.

The U.S. Justice Department said on Monday it will launch a civil rights investigation into the city's police department, examining its use of force, including deadly force, among other issues.

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Emanuel: 'Respect Is a Two-Way Street'

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