The murder of Laquan McDonald and its subsequent cover up by the mayor of Chicago helped to once and for all expose Rahm Emanuel as the racist creep many of us always knew he was. How did he get to be Barack Obama's good friend? —Ronald David Jackson
|Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel: He's a heap of lying garbage and typical of the "leadership" polluting |
the Democratic Party.
Is the 'Chicago Way' a kill-and-cover-up culture?
By Clarence Page
When public officials refuse to release a video that shows alleged misconduct by a police officer, you should only expect the worst.
Such are the suspicions that haunt the city's stalling, for more than a year, the release of a dashboard camera video that shows white police Officer Jason Van Dyke firing 16 shots into the body of black 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel denounced the behavior as a case of one allegedly bad apple. Yet the video and various actions taken before and after the shooting point to systemic and institutional problems that extend far beyond one allegedly trigger-happy cop.
Why, for example, did the city sit on the video for more than a year before a judge ordered its release?
Emanuel and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez have said the time was needed to conduct proper investigations. But compare that to the Cincinnati case this past summer in which black driver Samuel DuBose was fatally shot on camera by University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing during a routine traffic stop.
The video, which contradicted Tensing's account of being dragged by DuBose's vehicle, was released, and Tensing was charged with murder and fired from the department in less than two weeks.
The Chicago video similarly refutes a police union spokesman's allegation of McDonald lunging at police with a knife on the night of Oct. 20, 2014.
Instead it shows the teen, reportedly with PCP in his system, holding a small knife but moving away from police when Van Dyke opens fire — and inexplicably keeps firing at McDonald's flinching body on the ground. Only Van Dyke fires his weapon, and none of the estimated seven other police officers on the scene moves to help McDonald. Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder.
Then there's the question of what happened to video from a security camera at a nearby Burger King. A district manager for the restaurant chain has said police visited shortly after the shooting and were given access to the surveillance equipment. The next day, he has said, a key portion of the video was missing.
Witnesses to the shooting told Jamie Kalven, an independent journalist and human rights activist whose nonprofit called the Invisible Institute announced the video's existence, that police tried to shoo witnesses away from the scene after the shooting instead of collecting names and other information.
And why, many wonder, did the mayor persuade the City Council to authorize a $5 million settlement for McDonald's family, which had not filed a lawsuit. Emanuel claimed a desire to avoid jeopardizing the case. But Chicagoans with long memories — like me — wonder whether the cash is reparations or a form of hush money.