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Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

* Tribune

The city of Chicago plans to release the police video of the Laquan McDonald shooting Tuesday afternoon, coinciding with a 4:30 p.m. news conference at Chicago Police Department headquarters, according to sources familiar with the decision.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy will hold the news conference but the video is expected to be released after their remarks.

I’m figuring that WGN will be carrying it live, so click here at the appropriate time.

…Adding… Oy

The Chicago Police Department has ordered most of its force into uniform and warned them of potentially longer hours and canceled days off as the city prepares to release a video of Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The plan is not unprecedented, and similar plans have been made in the past when the department expects massive protests or potential for civil unrest.

* Follow along with ScribbleLive

- Posted by Rich Miller   58 Comments      

*** UPDATED x2 *** The supreme power of video

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

* Sun-Times

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy will recommend the Chicago Police Board fire Dante Servin, the officer acquitted in the 2012 shooting death of Rekia Boyd, less than a year after Chicago’s top cop said the officer should never have been charged in the 22-year-old’s death.

“After considerable deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that Officer Dante Servin showed incredibly poor judgement in his efforts to intervene in a low-level dispute while off-duty,” McCarthy said in a prepared statement. […]

In April, McCarthy said the charge brought against Servin — involuntary manslaughter — should never have been filed.

“Because of the way that played out, what you didn’t know is the defense and all the intricate details of that particular event. . . . If the details of that case were known, I think it would be a lot clearer” why no charges were warranted, McCarthy said.

* Tribune

Cook County prosecutors say a veteran Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times in an on-duty incident on the Southwest Side in October 2014.

Officer Jason Van Dyke turned himself in to authorities Tuesday morning and is scheduled to appear in bond court at noon at the Leighton Criminal Court Building. […]

The charges would come less than a week after a Cook County judge ordered the release of the video, which Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration had long sought to keep out of public view. As Emanuel urged prosecutors to conclude their investigation Monday, he met with community leaders and aldermen to defend his handling of the controversy amid criticism that City Hall has not done enough to address police misconduct.

Ordered to release the video no later than Wednesday, the mayor called on religious leaders and activists to encourage peaceful demonstrations even as staff prepared for the public fallout and discussed the best way to unveil the video.

* Sun-Times

The charges is believed to be the first time in Chicago history an on-duty police officer is charged with such a crime.

And now you know why some cops allegedly erased private video of the shooting. If that had been made public last year in the aftermath of Ferguson… whew.

* Sen. Kwame Raoul…

When I learned that a video of Laquan McDonald’s final moments was to be released to the public, I knew that many would fear its impact, remembering the self-destruction oppressed communities elsewhere have experienced following acts of police brutality and excessive force.

I believe we can do better in Chicago. But I am not calling for calm. There’s nothing to be calm about. Instead, I’m calling for sustained, focused, constructive outrage that demands full accountability but doesn’t destroy community.

Because of legislation I advanced earlier this year, we now have legal protocols in place that mandate independent investigations of police-involved deaths, expose the misdeeds of rogue cops so they don’t quietly move from one department to another, require improved officer training on bias and the use of force and establish funding and protocols for the use of body cameras.

But I know it’s not enough.

Everyone responsible in this atrocity – not only Officer Van Dyke, but any individual who participated in a cover-up that delayed justice for Laquan McDonald and his family – must be held accountable. We should direct our outrage toward asking our local prosecutor whether it would have taken 13 months to resolve this case if the video had shown a civilian committing the same act. We should ask why Office Van Dyke was still on the beat after 17 public complaints were filed against him and the City paid half a million dollars to settle allegations that he had used excessive force. We should question the ability of Chicago’s independent police review authority, which has recent come under scrutiny from the Better Government Association, to do its job with integrity. And as we call on our neighbors to abandon the no-snitch code, in our outrage we demand the same of law enforcement.

Watch the video. Don’t be destructive. But don’t be calm.

* Meanwhile, Northwestern University law professor Max Schanzenbach has some ideas

Give the police superintendent and the mayor the power to fire any officer for any reason that does not otherwise violate a general employment statute. Problem officers could not escape attention, and city executives could not pass the buck on discipline by pointing to an arbitrator or regulation. Internal human resources departments could monitor and discipline, free from constraining regulations and collective bargaining agreements. […]

A less dramatic reform would be to prohibit local governments from paying for officers’ settlements in civil rights cases. Instead, require officers to buy professional liability insurance, just as we require doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance. Officers with multiple complaints would see their premiums dramatically increase and would be priced out of employment. Liability may also reduce police resistance to cameras and other monitoring devices, which could help protect police officers from frivolous litigation.

Right now, the taxpayers are the insurer, paying for settlements and for lawyers.

More limited reforms would prohibit unions from bargaining over the monitoring of police behavior and would make arbitration subject to judicial review.

Our current system ensures that victims and taxpayers bear all the costs of police misconduct, while the vast majority of hardworking police officers have their reputations stained by the terrible, undisciplined actions of a few.

*** UPDATE 1 *** AP

Gov. Bruce Rauner says Illinois State Police are working with Chicago officials to ensure people remain safe following the release of a video that shows a white police officer shooting a black teen 16 times.

Rauner said Tuesday his office has been briefed on the contents of the video that shows 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s death in 2014. […]

Rauner says the video is “very troubling” and that he expects public reaction to be “strong.” But he says he hopes and believes the response will be “thoughtful and peaceful.”

The Republican declined to say whether he’s deployed additional troopers to Chicago or put the Illinois National Guard on standby.

*** UPDATE 2 *** And yet it took her a year to bring charges

Cook County prosecutors said in court Tuesday that a Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder opened fire six seconds after exiting his squad car as 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was walking away from him.

Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire, prosecutors said during bond court.

Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Van Dyke held without bail until the judge can personally view on Monday a police dash-cam video of the shooting from October 2014.

While the kid was walking away.

- Posted by Rich Miller   72 Comments      

Rauner pushes Gaming Board to back off fantasy sports site issue

Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

* Can you imagine the uproar from the Tribune and others if Gov. Pat Quinn had stuck his nose this far into Illinois Gaming Board regulations? Wow

In a move loaded with political implications, Gov. Bruce Rauner is trying to put a brick on efforts to regulate and potentially block fantasy sports sites such as Draft Kings and Fan Duel from accepting bets in the state.

The action appears at least partially linked to poor relations among Rauner, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and her father, Rauner’s arch foe, Mike Madigan, the speaker of the Illinois House. But it also comes after the sports sites retained lobbyist Eric Elk, who hired or supervised several senior Rauner aides when they all worked in U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk’s office.

The Illinois Gaming Board this fall had publicly expressed its intention to seek a legal opinion from Lisa Madigan, the state’s chief legal officer, on whether the sites can legally operate here. AGs in Massachusetts and New York have recently argued that major consumer protections are needed.

But at a meeting two weeks ago, the gaming board abruptly backed away from its request, with its spokesman saying the fantasy sports operations are “currently under review.”

The reason is Rauner. “We suggested to the Gaming Board that they should gather more information and complete a review before seeking an opinion from the AG, just as a matter of good practice,” Rauner Communications Director Lance Trover told me in an email. Rauner appoints the members of the gaming board.

“The administration believes there are laws on the books to deal with this issue,” Trover added. “As to requesting an opinion from the attorney general, that’s up to the IGB once they complete their review.”

I’m sure there’s zero coincidence that Eric signed up as a lobbyist for Draft Kings and Fan Duel earlier this month.

Elk said he had nothing to do with it, but again, this is a highly unusual move by a governor.

…Adding… As pointed out in comments, it probably doesn’t help Rauner’s position that he’s a part owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. The NFL has been a player in those fan sites.

- Posted by Rich Miller   53 Comments      

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