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Fun stuff in Cook

Friday, Jul 20, 2007

The prospect of this happening has to be prompting the city’s white leaders, particularly Mayor Daley, to encourage Dick Devine to change his mind and run for another term…

Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), who was recently elected to a second term on the City Council, says he plans to run for Cook County state’s attorney next year.

Three-term State’s Atty. Richard Devine has not decided if he will seek another four years in office. Devine, 64, is expected to make his decision by the end of the month, a source close to him said. […]

Brookins said allegations of police brutality and criticisms that the state’s attorney’s office has not done enough to prosecute rogue police officers will be an issue in the campaign.

Brookins, who is African-American, said he expects to benefit from a higher turnout of black and liberal Democrats in the primary election as a result of the presidential candidacies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Brookins could be a real thorn in Daley’s side if he wins that race. Daley would then have to fight battles on three fronts, one with the US Attorney, another with the hiring monitor, and one with with the county.

Brookins is right that Obama on the ballot might help his campaign, and, once again, Obama would be in a sticky position with the Machine. He could support their guy (whether that be Devine or whoever else runs) or stand with Brookins.

Russ Stewart claimed in a recent column that Brookins will also have the support of Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s organization. Brookins was forced into an aldermanic runoff earlier this year (targeted for defeat by the unions partly because of his vote for the Big Box ordinance), but he went on to win by a large margin.

The Tribune also reports today that failed Cook County Board President candidate Tony Peraica, a Republican, is also eyeing the state’s attorney race.

Somewhat related: Mayor attempting to undermine watchdog? - Daley pushing new agency with similar powers

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Skeeter - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 9:47 am:

    Brookins wants to be a prosecutor so he can prosecute cops?

    Does he have any understanding of the job of “prosecutor”?

    If he is somehow elected, you are going to see a lot of POs doing the only reasonable thing: Sitting in their cars and ignoring crime. When POs make arrests, the bad guys make complaints. That is how the system works. Don’t want complaints? Don’t make arrests.

  2. - cermak_rd - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 10:28 am:

    Well yeah, Skeeter, but what about obvious cases of police brutality that haven’t been prosecuted as vigorously as they should have been. Right now, the public’s confidence in the police is at a nadir, and only zealous prosecution of those few bad apples is going to raise the citizenry’s confidence.

    You’re right that good cops also get a lot of complaints. The more arrests, the more complaints, however, every allegation should be investigated and when evidence supports it, vigorous prosecution should be forthcoming and officers who “didn’t see nothing” when fellow cops are being overly aggressive should also be prosecuted and punished harshly for obstructing justice.

  3. - Skeeter - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 10:42 am:


    I don’t think that is obvious at all.
    Sure there have been a few high profile incidents recently involving POs. But those incidents are being prosecuted. And they remain rare.

    The reporting by publications including the Tribune was far off base. Pure numbers of OPS complaints show nothing. Percentages of sustained complaints show nothing. Face it: Bad guys try and go after POs to get them to back off. The result is a lack of sustained complaints.

    The City should be more open about this though. The City needs to provide more detail. When the public sees how many OPS complaints are of the nature of “the handcuffs were too tight” or the complaints made alleging that a PO in uninform did something when the duty records show that the PO wasn’t even on duty on the day in question, people might start seeing the truth, i.e. that cracking down on good cops serves only the interests of the bad guys.

  4. - Captain America - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 11:08 am:

    Overall,Devine has been a fine State’s Attorney with excellent legal credentials for the office. I’m quite satisfied with the U.S. Attorney taking the lead on governmental corruption.

    African-Ammerican have legitmate concerns that need to be addressed. Burge should have been prosecited by both Daley and Devine.

    All the signs appear to that Devine is going to retire. I think the voters should choose the next State’s Attorney, not Daley and the other bosses who gave us Todd Stroger.

    I think Tom Dart should continue to be Sheriff and then run for Attornmey General when Lisa decides to run for Governor. I was amused by Stewart’s description of Larry Suffredin as the Falstaff of County politics.

    I prefer an independent Democrat my money is on Suffredin rather than Quigley for this particular office. I’m neutral about a Brookins candidacy. Don’t know enough about him to judge his qualifications.

    Looks like the contest to succeed Devine will be an interesting, enjoyable, and highly comptetitive free-for-all.

    Frankly, I don’think Peraica can be elected because of his ridiculous behavior and poor judgement that he exhibited on election night.All any opponent will have to do is run commercials with footage from that evening.(He barely was reelected to the County Board because of him many enemies if my recollection is corect???)

  5. - Captain America - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 11:16 am:

    Let’s face it. Mayor Daley is a complete control freak. He’s a benovlolent despot, as long as you don’t cross him or his cronies.

    I’m not sure it makes any sense to have an Inspector General and an Office of Compliance too.

    I recall reading that Daley was going to privatize the City Personnel Department.I am convinced that this privatization is his strategy to circumvent and undermine the court-appointed “Shakman” monitor.

  6. - Cassandra - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 12:34 pm:

    Police brutality is a problem and should not be minimized. However, it seems unlikely that a few high profile prosecutions will be much of a deterrent. It’s primarily a police department management and training problem and the selection and priorities of the new police chief are crucial.

    The chief prosecutor in Cook County could have an impact on the racial disproportionality of the prison population by reforming the way the decision to prosecute is made and by emphasizing diversion programs. Devine has done little in this area. So our jails are disproportionately filled with African Americans, to a shocking degree. And it’s expensive too.

    Because of the high volume in Cook County courtrooms, a Cook county state’s attorney could have a huge impact on reducing this disproportionality. But don’t count on Brookins
    doing it if he runs and is elected. Democrats are terrified of appearing soft on crime. And there are all those Democratic patronage jobs generated by the court/prison system. It might actually take a Republican to make any noticeable changes.

  7. - Skeeter - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 12:43 pm:

    Cassandra raises some valid points. However the problem is more on the state and national level. The jails are filled with African Americans and a huge percentage can be traced to drug crimes. As long as we treat drugs as a criminal matter rather than as a health matter that is going to continue.

    I believe that Devine has done a pretty good job. If he elects not to run, I do not see a Republican coming in and solving the drug issue, as Republicans tend to be against easing drug prosecutions.

    However, the City of Chicago is filled with qualified Republican attorneys. It would be great to see one mount a serious challenge, if only to begin re-establishing a functioning two party system in Chicago and in Cook County.

  8. - Captain America - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 1:29 pm:

    I agree with Skeeter that there are many qualified Republican attorneys who could make a legitimate run for Cook County States Attorney.They are unlikely to win unless the Democratic nominee is unqualified.

    This would be the best antidote available if the Democrats end up noominating an unacceptable candidate. But it’s really hard to imagine that anyone could be as bad as Todd Stroger was and has been.

    It was really the fact that Cecil Partee, a disinguished gentleman, was at the end of his career and not on-top of his game, that led to the election of Jack O’Malley.

    I don’t even want to recall the O’Grady/Dvorak debacle. It was great to oust Elrod, but Deputy Sheriff Dvorak was a criminal.

    Aren’t there any Republican Richard Phelans out there with a ton of money,who lust for political office, and would do a good job to boot. We definitely would be better served if there was any semblance of a two party system in Cook County. At least,it might improve the calibre of Democratic nominees.

  9. - Mad as Hell - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 1:33 pm:

    Cassandra said, “The chief prosecutor in Cook County could have an impact on the racial disproportionality of the prison population by reforming the way the decision to prosecute is made and by emphasizing diversion programs. Devine has done little in this area.”

    Wrong. See the following article-

    Stroger initially proposed that the drug diversion program be eliminated in the last budget. It was subsequently restored.

    Cassandra also said, “So our jails are disproportionately filled with African Americans, to a shocking degree. And it’s expensive too. Because of the high volume in Cook County courtrooms, a Cook county state’s attorney could have a huge impact on reducing this disproportionality.”

    How? I don’t get it. Should the State’s Attorney say, “Oh, you committed a crime, but because you are Black, you get a pass?”

    If you want change, then you have to lobby for decriminalization in Springfield. I don’t want any prosecutor making decisions based on race. If a crime was committed, it is their duty to prosecute, period.

  10. - Gene Parmesan - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 1:35 pm:

    Captain America, your recollection of Peraica’s Commissioner’s race is correct. He won by only 1669 votes (35,599 to 33,930). He also only won his Republican Committeeman race for Lyons Township by only 96 votes (2978-2882).

  11. - Charlie Haeger - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 1:53 pm:

    Dart will not give up the Sheriff’s office for the State’s Attorney. The 19th ward doesn’t have another person ready to take over that position yet. I think Devine will run one more time, and Brookins will not win. Peraica will waste time and money if he runs against Devine in the General.

  12. - Cassandra - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 2:43 pm:

    Mad as Hell is underemphasizing the huge discretion our society gives to local prosecutors. And they often exercise it.

    I don’t believe prosectors (who are, I believe, overwhelmingly white) set out to discriminate.
    Many of us have biases we are really unaware of.
    Nor do I believe that most officers are consciously exercising racial discrimination when they make traffic stops. But the statistics show that discrimination occurs in traffic stops and the disproportionality in the prison population is simply too glaring to attribute to anything but
    institutional racism.

  13. - FED UP - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 3:26 pm:

    Cassandra it must be racism, what a joke. statistics show that the dispropportionality of the number of blacks in the NBA it must be racism keeping whites out. Why are african american areas asking for more police service maybe its because of the level of criminal activity.and cassandra how are diversion programs going to change the racial make up of jails your black you get counseling your white and we need to increase are numbers there you go to jail god forbid an asian gets arrested. Cassandra when you think of racism are you looking in the mirror.

  14. - FED UP - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 3:30 pm:

    And cassandra the most likely person to be pulled over in illinois statistically speaking is a 19yo white male.

  15. - Teresa - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 4:18 pm:

    Brookins could win with a good turnout.

    The Burge issue will haunt Devine.

  16. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 4:32 pm:

    and brookins qualifications to be states attorney are???? The unions are against brookins he is on there hit list for his votes for wal mart which were the right thing to do for his ward but he will not win county wide now. ps perica has no chance

  17. - Rich Miller - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 4:37 pm:

    Anon, Brookins was an asst. state’s attorney, I believe.

  18. - Anonymous - Friday, Jul 20, 07 @ 10:19 pm:

    I would never vote for a wal mart loving canidate who does not belivein a living wage bye bye brookins

  19. - Cassandra - Saturday, Jul 21, 07 @ 8:15 am:

    According to federal data published recently, Illinois has the highest incarceration rate for blacks for drug possession in the country. Only 14 percent of the state’s illicit drug users are black but yet 65 percent of Illinois arrests for drug users are of African Americans. This is Human Rights Watch type stuff.

    Yet our politicians of all races are silent, having made the Faustian bargain of lots o state and local patronage jobs and contracts in exchange for a penal system that rivals that of many “undeveloped” countries

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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