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Emanuel Aides Sought To Influence Message Of Independent Police Reformer: Documents

(CBS) – The person named to help lead a supposedly independent task force for reforming the Chicago Police Department was offered "talking points" by the Emanuel administration as controversy boiled over in the fatal officer-involved shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald.

That is among many details to be found in thousands of pages of documents and emails released to the media over the New Year's holiday.

The new information begs the question: Just how independent is the task force Rahm Emanuel assembled?

CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reports.

Lori Lightfoot was recently named as the co-chair of an "independent" task force created to fix the deep-seated problems plaguing the Chicago Police Department. But at least one email suggests her remarks during a recent TV appearance may have been crafted by Mayor Emanuel's press office.

On Dec. 2, Lightfoot, the newly appointed co-chair of the city's news Task Force on Police Accountability, appeared on MSNBC.

Mayoral press aides sought to define her talking points, according to communications released by City Hall. One heading, in fact, discusses things such as "High level talking points."

What those talking points were are unknown. They were all redacted from the email before being released publicly.

Lightfoot, a private lawyer who also is president of the Chicago Police Board, on Friday said she doesn't even remember if she received the talking points.

"No one scripts anything for me. I am my own person. I always speak my own mind," she said.

A spokesperson for the mayor tried to downplay the notion that Lightfoot may have been coached: "... given that she was appointed to chair the new Task Force on Police Accountability the day earlier, Lori was briefed to ensure she was fully up to speed on all the substantive police-related reforms made by the administration in recent days and weeks."

A white Chicago Police officer -- now charged with murder -- shot McDonald, 17, a total of 16 times in October 2014 as authorities responded to a call of vandalism. Critics say the Emanuel administration and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office covered up the killing and suppressed the release of dashcam video that contradicted officers' accounts of what happened as Emanuel faced re-election.

Contributing: CBS 2 Political Producer Ed Marshall


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