Community activist Ja’Mal Green has announced plans to run for mayor of Chicago in 2019, and one of his top concerns is holding every police officer accountable every time they draw their weapons.
The South Side native is known for being quite vocal about police shootings, and he reportedly plans to hit the streets before, during and after the trial of Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, 17, who was shot 16 times.
“I am worried. We could look at Ferguson. We could look at other cities. This case is one of the biggest cases nationally in history. We don’t know what will happen and how people will take the effects of Jason Van Dyke actually getting off or not getting first-degree murder,” Green, 23, told the Chicago Sun-Times.
On Friday, he announced that he is running against Rahm Emanuel because he was unable to convince Chance the Rapper’s father, Ken Bennett, to challenge the mayor, who was once Bennett’s boss at City Hall, according to the report.
Green has known Chance for over a decade since they were in youth programs together. He considers Bennett a “mentor” and a “father figure.”
Both he and Chance tried to persuade Bennett to quit his job as Emanuel’s director of public engagement following the release of the controversial McDonald shooting video.
“He was one who tried to mend those relationships after Laquan McDonald. Stressed him out a ton . . . It sucks to be the one that it all falls on — especially being the black person right up under Rahm. You’re gonna take the most heat because the communities know you,” Green said.
“I told him, ‘Get out. They’re using you. You’re the token black man, and Rahm Emanuel is just gonna keep on letting this stuff fall on you and not take responsibility for it’ . . . I heard through the grapevine that Chance said those same things. Chance has been very vocal already about his distaste for Rahm Emanuel. He even did it in a song not too long ago.”
But when Bennett — who now holds a top job at the tourism agency Choose Chicago — refused to challenge Emanuel, Green stepped up instead.
“It was either gonna be me or him,” he said.
Asked whether Chance will support his decision.
“I’ve got to prove myself to make sure that he understands that I can run this city. Then, I think he’ll make the best decision,” he noted.
As reported by WGN TV, Green made headlines in 2016 when he was indicted on allegations he assaulted one officer during an anti-police-brutality protest at Taste of Chicago and tried to disarm another. He maintained his innocence and later pleaded down to a misdemeanor in the case.
He is currently raising money to build a new youth center in Auburn Gresham.
*contains explicit lyrics *
Chance the Rapper “I Might Need Security”