CHICAGO (FOX 32 / AP) - Controversy over the Chicago Police Department and the shooting of Laquan McDonald has spilled over into what would normally be a moment to celebrate for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.
High school students at Urban Prep's campus on the South Side chanted "16 shots!" for about 10 seconds on Wednesday after Emanuel announced the members of a new board intended to create job opportunities for young minorities. The support program, founded by President Obama, is called 'My Brother's Keeper.'
Some students at Urban Prep Charter High School's Englewood campus are the same age as 17-year old Laquan McDonald when a Chicago Police officer fatally shot him. Without referring to that incident directly, the mayor told the all-male student body his goal was to have "cradle-to-career" support for young African-American men.
"Know that every step of your journey is a journey that we have to take as a City of Chicago," Emanuel said.
The students waited politely until he departed, but then Urban Prep students expressed their continuing anger about the McDonald case and the issues it highlights.
"16 Shots! 16 Shots!" they chanted.
McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.
Emanuel regularly visits the charter school, which says it sends all of its black male graduates to college. The school's leader, Tim King, was one of the people Emanuel named to the new board.
While Urban Prep is the first stop that the mayor's allowed reporters and TV cameras to record, staffers say he's made at least 14 community visits on the South and West Side since the release of the McDonald video. Usually, Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante is there, too.
The goal: communication.
"One of the things that I'm trying to do in these conversations, but not just with the police, but convening community leaders and police leadership and police officers in that conversation I'm trying to create," Emanuel said.
He's also visited five police districts at shift change time, reportedly bringing multiple pizzas to hear how rank and file officers are reacting.
"And we're gonna let officers know that we appreciate their work. We appreciate what they do every day. But there will be no quarter left to those that don't do it in the most professional sense," Emanuel said.
In response to the students yelling 16 shots, Emanuel spokeswoman Lauren Huffman told the Chicago Tribune that the mayor knows people are "understandably frustrated" and that he has "called for systemic reform to bring safety to every community and rebuild trust where it has been lost."