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There are no easy solutions here

Wednesday, Dec 2, 2015 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Neil Steinberg writes about the problems created after the ouster of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy

Problem One: who replaces him? Someone from within the force who, weaned on the you’ve-got-my-back-I’ve-got-yours buddyism that is the air of the Chicago Police Department, knows how things work and could change them were he inclined to. But he wouldn’t be; that’s how he lasted so long in the first place. Anyone who has risen high enough within the CPD to be on the short list for superintendent should be excluded from consideration.

Bring in an outsider, however, and the rank and file immediately hate him, on general principles, for being an outsider and suggesting that any young cop who arrives with a gun and dream can’t grow up to be superintendent. They’ll resist with all their might whatever Supt. Not-From-Here tries to do even more than they’d resist someone from within trying the same thing, not that someone from within would do anything beyond symbolic chair shuffling.

He’s right, unfortunately.

The city needs more than just somebody new at the top of the force. The entire department needs an attitude adjustment. Some new state laws limiting the powers of the police union might be something to look at. Let’s look again at what McCarthy said on TV yesterday moments before he was fired

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy admitted Tuesday on NBC Chicago that the initial press release sent out after 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was fatally shot 16 times by an officer last year was wrong.

“The initial press release was mistaken, no two ways about it,” he said. “I guess that’s my fault.” […]

McCarthy added that he didn’t see dash-cam video of the shooting until the day after the press release went out.

“At that point I was too involved in trying to learn the circumstances of this event and what I needed to do internally and externally and communication is a part of that, no two ways about it, but in this particular case my greatest concern was that information came from elsewhere that he had lunged at the officers, which we knew not be the case and that was what I was trying to fix behind the scenes with the FOP quite frankly,” he said.

Emphasis added for obvious reasons, because, I mean, what the heck, man? If the FOP is so powerful that it can cow a superintendent into participating in a 13-month coverup, then the FOP needs to be reined in. But I doubt anything can be done about it on the state level because the governor has made anti-union issues his top priority and the Democrats have reacted by retreating to the arms of organized labor.

* Back to Steinberg

Problem Three is the real problem, underlying all this. It isn’t McCarthy’s fault, or Emanuel’s fault or even Anita Alvarez’s fault, which is really saying something, because everything is her fault. That problem is: how do we fix the grotesque undervaluing of human life that is behind the Laquan McDonald atrocity? It’s as if even the public doesn’t want to notice. It wasn’t the 16 shots, horrible as that was, that was the most horrible part of the video. It was the cops letting the teenager lie dying in the street, unaided, uncomforted, almost unnoticed. As if he were a dog. How do we fix that? Cameras might cow cops into grudgingly doing their jobs better, although Jason Van Dyke certainly wasn’t inspired to excellence. Besides, cameras break. We need a police force that knows the people they’re policing, the dreaded community policing that was tried and abandoned because it costs money and officers we don’t have.

The $5 million given to McDonald’s family is viewed only as hush money. Anybody noticed another awful injustice: the same family that left him a ward of the state after two abuse investigations ​gets a giant payday at his death? You could hire a lot of cops for $5 million. And those cops could get to better know the people they’re policing. And then they will be less inclined to shoot them.

Agreed on all counts, except for the dog part. I’m betting they’d give aid and comfort to a dying dog. The officers walked past that bleeding kid like he didn’t even exist. He might as well have been a fly on a windshield.

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  1. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:09 am:

    McCarthy could have said “Pat Camden and the FOP do not speak for the Chicago Police Department. I do. You’ll have my press release on this shooting as soon as possible.”

    You don’t need any state law changes to cowboy up and take control of your department.

  2. - The Teflon Rahm - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:10 am:

    The general assembly can start by repealing the police officers’ bill of rights enshrined in statute. It gives cops rights and privileges not afforded to others.

  3. - Formerly Known As... - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:13 am:

    +1, well said.

  4. - Chicago Guy - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:19 am:

    The City should revisit the approach used by Mayor Richard J. Daley. When scandals hit the Chicago Police Department, he brought in one of the national experts in modern policing - O.W. Wilson. While he didn’t solve all of the problems, he did significantly improve the quality of policing in Chicago. Rahm needs to find a similar person and empower them to make the necessary changes.

  5. - walker - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:24 am:

    Why is the proposed board mostly filled with ex-cops and prosecutors? (Plus one innocence project prof.)

  6. - ChicagoVinny - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:30 am:

    DoJ probe and consent decree may be the only way out.

  7. - Ggg - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:31 am:

    I think the easy solution is a calisthenics program for police, so they don’t immediately see a person running away who they have to chase as a threat to their life.

  8. - Anonymouth - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:33 am:

    === That problem is: how do we fix the grotesque undervaluing of human life that is behind the Laquan McDonald atrocity? ===

    Take that one step further - how do we fix the grotesque undervaluing of human life that is behind the Tyshawn Lee atrocity. The neighborhoods where these types of crime occur are usually the ones ravaged by poverty and unemployment. Most of the people with any resources at all are the gangsters who commit these crimes (The suspect in the Lee case was able to post the $100k bond to get out of jail on a related gun charge). Needless to say, police officers generally do not live in these place and do not have any connection to these communities other than the fact that this is the place they come to “do their job”. The people that these officers interact with are usually in connection with a criminal investigation. At the end of the day, officers go home to their families and friends and tell them how bad these places are. Its almost if these places are not real - the people there are not real.

    I am not making excuses for police officers that engaged in wrongdoing. They need to be held accountable. But in order to change the culture of the CPD, it would also be helpful that something gets done to change the culture of crime and devalued life in impoverished, crime ridden communities.

  9. - Almost the Weekend - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:33 am:

    You have to bring in somebody new to the city. If it’s somebody trying to move up the ladder, the public immediately sees the same old story.

    However, one major setback of bringing in an outsider is the lack of institutional knowledge of the city. You are essentially starting on page 1 in a 5,000 page book.

    What the CPD union needs to do is stop protecting the bad cops. It leaves a distrust from the public and only hurts themselves in the long run. The CPD should be audited to get out all the bad cops. If there ever was a time to start over now is the time.

    A side note in regards to the continued bad press and well deserved criticism of police officers. I’m surprised nobody has brought up their pensions. Fire fighters and Police pensions are always off the table. If more bad press, more stories come up, I wonder if this changes.

  10. - Worth It - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:34 am:

    I’ve heard more and more over the past couple of day about the fact that the other officers did not provide assistance to the victim. While normally I would agree (and I hate being graphic here) but McDonald was hit so many times including a head shot, isn’t possible even a well-intentioned officer on the scene would upon sight realize that he was already dead and assistance was futile? Perhaps I’m missing information from the coroner.

  11. - Honeybear - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:35 am:

    Steinberg’s words are horrifying and true. He nails it on the head. As someone heavily involved in my local I think I can be critical to my labor sisters and brothers in the FOP. I get that you have an obligation to defend your members. But when I’ve got someone in my shop that screws up and violates the contract, I tell them, “you screwed up bigtime, and there’s nothing I can do to protect you”. Now if the person has a good record otherwise, I might expend some brownie points with management to plea for leniency. But if the employee has exhibited problem behaviors in the past, my allegiance is to protect and enforce the contract and NOT the problem employee.

    The law MUST MUST MUST supercede the FOP defence. Think about the phrase in the Declaration of Independance, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. “LIFE” folks! That officer took a life without a second thought. It is a societal problem that is currently manifesting itself strongly in our law enforcement. We have got to do better. We’ve got to care more deeply about all lives. AND focus acutely on our devaluation of especially black lives.

  12. - Keyrock - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:37 am:

    Walker- if you’re talking about the Blue Ribbon panel, it’s mostly former federal prosecutors. Sergio Acosta, for example, was a member of the team that prosecuted Burge. Randy Stone is a very well regarded former Public Defender of Cook County.

    What Hiram Grau is doing there is another matter.

  13. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:38 am:

    Anonymouth, I think we’re just going to have to hold the police department to higher standards than we do gang bangers.

    That’s an achievable goal, don’t you think?

  14. - Menard guy - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:42 am:

    I disagree on one point. I do believe you cannot promote a CPD career guy to be superintendent. There is an unspoken hierarchy in law enforcement. There is only one single place you can bring in a new superintendent from and have the respect of the rank and file, and that’s the NYPD. Just as they did with McCarthy. I say bring Ray Kelly out of retirement, and pay him well to fix the problem. He and his successor William Bratton are the best of the best. Both NYPD.

  15. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:51 am:

    Given the current “no budget/dead people/don’t care” vibe, I’m also very interested in hearing how Anonymouth plans to clean up the culture of devalued life that is running rampant in Winnetka.

    No budget. Dead people. Don’t care.

  16. - Anonymouth - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    === Anonymouth, I think we’re just going to have to hold the police department to higher standards than we do gang bangers. ===

    I certainly think that is true Word - We have to hold cops to higher standards than criminals. However, I don’t think that will necessarily solve the problems within CPD or the problems faced in these crime ridden communities. I think the underlying issues here are bigger than CPD.

  17. - Groundhog Day - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:54 am:

    The poor kid was actually treated like target practice. It sickens me. I have personally witnessed CPD brutality from back in 1983, when a police van pulled up to an emergency room parking area and threw out a victim of police brutality on the pavement–did not even bring him in for treatment. That poor person was at least alive. This is institutional racism, little changed for decades.

  18. - Jack Stephens - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 10:56 am:


    Police should also pay attention to the neighborhoods that patronize the Ashley Madison website too. Mostly White Males looking for a little something outside the “Holy” bonds of matrimony. Children of these “marriages” wind up addicted to drugs and engage in crime just like the “impoverished” neighborhoods.

    Something needs to be done to change the culture of Ashley Madison communities!

  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    The Police Union should be grilled. Starts at the top. The Union President Dean Angelo was front and center as the charged officer was bonded out. There very own Union President has credibility problems. He needs to be outed and called to the Carpet. The media should look into that.

  20. - Former Hoosier - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:01 am:

    “We need a police force that knows the people they’re policing, the dreaded community policing that was tried and abandoned because it costs money and officers we don’t have.”

    I lived in one of the original community policing (CAPS) prototype districts (22nd- Morgan Park) and was the civilian chair of the District Advisory Committee. It took a lot of effort from all, but I can tell you that when the police and community work together, big changes can and do occur. It sets up a very different dynamic when officers patrol beats within the district on a consistent basis and when the community begins to relate to the police as a partner in preventing and solving crime. This type of interaction breaks down the “us vs them” mentality. Community policing requires a large financial and manpower commitment but, when implemented well, the payoffs are huge. In spite of the successes (and yes there were failures) the city abandoned the program.

  21. - Soccermom - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    Dear heaven, I am so tired of “underlying issues.” Yeah, things are tough all over. But police officers are paid to protect the public — not to scatter their brains across a parking lot. You don’t have to deal with the “underlying issues” to prosecute police officers who kill the people they are supposed to serve and protect. Sheesh.

    And you know what? Maybe if people trusted the police more, they would be more inclined to cooperate with them during investigations.

  22. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:04 am:

    I remember not too long ago when Emanuel complained video cameras result in:​ “We have allowed our police department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence [in the spike in crime].”

    Is it better when the person in the fetal position has his body riddled with 16 bullets from a cop’s gun? Was this Emanuel’s mindset in refusing to release the video throughout the court fight; to protect the police? After the video is released a complete 180 and out goes McCarthy. Can we really trust this mayor to cause needed changes to the CPD?

    No, he going by the crises playbook as the Tribune pointed out:
    “Fire the police chief. Assign a blue-ribbon task force to determine what went wrong and how to correct it.”

    Once things simmer down, it will be status quo as usual, until the next video.

  23. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:06 am:

    Anymouth, every big city in the world has poverty and rough neighborhoods. London recently went through a two-year stretch where not one citizen was shot by police.

  24. - Anonymouth - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:08 am:

    === Dear heaven, I am so tired of “underlying issues.” Yeah, things are tough all over. But police officers are paid to protect the public — not to scatter their brains across a parking lot. You don’t have to deal with the “underlying issues” to prosecute police officers who kill the people they are supposed to serve and protect. Sheesh. ===

    You’re right, you don’t have to deal with underlying issues to prosecute police. But if you think that prosecuting police is the only solution to the problem, then you are kidding yourself.

  25. - crazybleedingheart - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:12 am:

    Nobody’s said that, Anonymouth. But go ‘head and keep shutting down calls for appropriate accountability from public servants.

  26. - walker - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:14 am:

    Keyrock: Good comment.

    Yes I did notice the former prosecutors named were mostly Federal, including one or more with experience prosecuting bad police. My concern is that part of the pr0blem is the prosecutorial community buying into the police culture itself. They are members of the same team, in some senses. Changing a culture needs internal knowledge knowledge, but also a mix of entirely outside perspectives.

  27. - Ford - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:17 am:

    Wordslinger, you do know there is almost no private ownership of guns in the UK? And until domestic terrorism flared, most cops in London didn’t even carry firearms.

  28. - Juvenal - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:18 am:

    === I’m betting they’d give aid and comfort to a dying dog. ===


  29. - walker - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:19 am:

    == But if you think that prosecuting police is the only solution to the problem, then you are kidding yourself.==

    True statement for all crime.

    But with Soccermom on this one — prosecuting police openly, fairly, and quickly is an absolute first requirement.

  30. - SAP - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:27 am:

    McCarthy came from New York, via Newark. Emmanual can go outside of the CPD. The question is whether it would do any good.

  31. - Rod - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:33 am:

    I simply don’t agree that the root of the problem in my city with the police is: “how do we fix the grotesque undervaluing of human life that is behind the Laquan McDonald atrocity?” What is required is a scrutinizing look at use-of-force rules themselves, not theoretical concepts of the valuation of human life on the part of the CPD.

    On July 1, 2012, Milton Hall, a homeless man with a history of mental illness, stole a cup of coffee from a convenience store in Saginaw, Michigan. The store’s clerk called 911. When an officer arrived, Hall produced a knife with a three-inch blade and threatened her with it. She called for backup and seven other officers soon joined her, one of them with a police dog.

    After he had taken a few steps—three, based on video footage from a patrol car’s dashboard camera and available on YouTube—the officers shot Hall to death in a volley of 47 bullets. Michael Thomas, Saginaw County prosecutor at the time, would not file charges against the officers. In this case the officers also had a Taser which was not used nor was the police dog used.(Hall’s mother later sued the city and the officers for wrongful death and received a settlement of just $725,000.)

    One reason there were no charges is what is called the 21 feet foot rule. If a suspect is within 21 feet and armed with a knife most officers are trained that their lives are in danger, especially if their gun is holstered. The other golden rule is you never shoot to try and wound an individual, but to bring them down and immobilize them by aiming at the upper body not legs or limbs.

    The US Supreme Court in the 1985 case, Tennessee v. Garner made this argument: “When the officer has probable cause to believe that the suspect poses a threat of serious physical harm, either to the officer or to others, it is not constitutionally unreasonable to prevent escape by using deadly force. Thus, if the suspect threatens the officer with a weapon or there is probable cause to believe that he has committed a crime involving the infliction or threatened infliction of serious physical harm, deadly force may be used if necessary to prevent escape, and if, where feasible, some warning has been given.”

    So here is the issue I think, do the people of Chicago want the Police to change their stance on the 21 foot rule and where they target? I think the police officers will make it very clear they don’t agree with such proposed changes.

    The real question before us is what will happen if Officer Jason Van Dyke is found innocent, will Chicago explode. Because there is a possibility given the standard set by the Garner decision that Van Dyke will walk out of court a free man.

  32. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:40 am:

    Bring in someone from the outside? Wasn’t that Garry McCarthy? Every Chicago police head going back to the 1960s lasted 4-5 years. The job appears to involve having someone around to wear the jacket when the time comes.

    Seems to me that the CPD suffers from the same ills that infect Chicago, Cook county and the rest of Illinois. Votes, job retention and retirement security are the holy trinity. Organizations are formed to service these interests to the detriment of honest, humane and cost effective government services. The by-product from this civic corruption in policing is grizzly, but the rest of Illinois state and local government delivers equal failure, but in not so dramatic a fashion.

    The solution is a quaint term known as “civic virtue,” which must originate at the top. Are there any leaders deemed suitable for election in Illinois who could seriously discuss the topic without breaking the needles on a polygraph?

  33. - walker - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 11:52 am:

    Deeper cultural questions, that make this so challenging:

    When, why, and how does a citizen become an “enemy” in the minds of some cops?

    When does a place become “enemy territory?”

    When is it “us or them,” at a life and death level?

    When does it become the team commitment “what happens in the field, stays in the field”?

    Sorry to get dramatic, but how police sometimes treat those they’ve shot and killed, looks to me like how combat soldiers view enemy dead. It’s partly emotional self-preservation in a war zone mentality.

    Tough to break.

  34. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 12:06 pm:

    Ford, did you know Laquan McDonald was not armed with a gun and was walking away when he was unloaded on?

    It’s not that tough to get an illegal gun in London. The press over there regularly does buys on the street to illustrate the issue.

  35. - Pacman - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 12:13 pm:

    Rod you just payed out the officers defense. I believe the 21 foot rule won’t fly, a good defensive tactics expert will explain that a 21 foot reactionary gap only applies to an officer with a holstered weapon. However Tenn. v. Garner will be the defense. They will likely argue that although McDonald was walking away he presented a danger to the public if not stopped.
    Does anyone know if any officer at the scene had a non-lethal weapon or how far away was one?

  36. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 12:22 pm:

    Rod, that Saginaw, MI video is online.

    All seven officers had their weapons drawn. The dude wasn’t within six steps of them. They just unloaded.

    The dog easily could have taken the guy down.

  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 12:40 pm:

    The problem isn’t procedures. The CPD already has IPRA and Internal Affairs and could easily go after any bad officers (subject of course to the right of the officers to defend themselves). The problem is that there is zero institutional will to go after any officer and all of the existing procedures are subverted for the purpose of over-up. The Commission and any further changes it recommends will be futile unless and until there is an institutional will to punish those officers who deserve it. Window-dressing punishment only when the political heat turns up on a particular case is not institutional will.

  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 12:44 pm:

    It seems to me that the police do not have enough tools in their box. That night, the options available to police were to parallel McDonald shouting “Stop, Police”!, for the next however-many miles, or to use deadly force. The second option was used and the perp lost his life, and a cop’s (and Commissioner’s) was ruined. If there was a “beanbag” shotgun, or tasers, or dogs, or even a cattle prod on a ten foot stick available early on, the situation would likely have been resolved before the quick-draw cop even arrived. THAT’S where I think McCarthy failed, not providing his force with adequate tools to handle a 17 year-old with a 3-inch knife without killing him.

  39. - Amalia - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 12:54 pm:

    count in institutional will the Police Board. next meeting is Dec. 9 and that should be interesting. Rita Fry, former Public Defender of Cook County, is on that board. surprising that the former PD would not be leading a charge.

  40. - Keep it Simple... - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:07 pm:

    Spot on Rich. The FOP is one of the main interest groups which shares the blame for the ‘cover up’ culture which exists today.

    Wordslinger- McCarthy could have said a lot of things, but what he actually said speaks volumes.

  41. - Rasselas - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rich, I think you’ve hit on something - reigning in the FOP at the state level, akin to the 1990s CPS bill, so that the ridiculous provisions tying the hands of the city in disciplining and re-educating officers can be eliminated, perhaps for 10 years. And the provisions that put all of the least experienced officers in the most difficult neighborhoods. (Theoretically the City could negotiate them out, but anybody who has ever tried to negotiate a ‘giveback’ from a government union knows that will go nowhere.)

  42. - What? - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:24 pm:

    No one sees the irony in the fact that the people who are saying we need to renegotiate police contracts to make it easier to fire them are the same ones who oppose making it easier to fire teachers?

  43. - Wensicia - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:28 pm:

    Looks like Emanuel doesn’t want what Lisa Madigan asked for, a broader probe into CPD by the Justice Department.

  44. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:38 pm:

    ===same ones who oppose making it easier to fire teachers===

    Besides the fact that this is a complete red herring, when was the last time a school teacher fired 16 shots at a student in Illinois?

  45. - wendy - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:51 pm:

    Something they could go after quickly, with random use of metal detectors, would be dropsy guns.

  46. - Ford - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 1:56 pm:

    Word…there are usually about a dozen gun deaths a year in the city of London, while there have been 400 to 500 a year in Chicago of late. The reason London went two years without any cop shootings is because the cops are almost never shot at in London and almost never confront a suspect with a gun. We know that’s not the case in Chicago.

    I really don’t disagree with anything you’ve written here, just suggesting you compare police shooting in Chicago to a city other than London.

  47. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:03 pm:

    Why the hell is the FOP spokesman given any responsibility whatsoever at a police shooting? And why does the media accept anything Pat Camden (or anyone in that job) says? It is flat out irrelevant.

    While I may have some issues with AFSCME or CTU, they are nothing compared to the insanity of the role FOP plays in protecting dirty out of control cops. I think a lot of Dems might support legislation that demands accountability and takes away some power from FOP.

  48. - Inside Out - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:15 pm:

    As a newbie here, the debate about who should lead the force should lead to a discussion about what force he or she would lead. WE all agree it should be a force that gains the public trust. But that tall order will require a thorough investigation and analysis by outside, objective, trained professionals working with local citizens to overhaul the Chicago police culture. Every policy pertaining to recruitment, hiring, training, supervision, discipline, accountability systems, mechanisms for reviewing citizen complaints and leadership must be examined to eliminate the likelihood of repeated misconduct. The group appointed by the Mayor couldn’t possibly accomplish this. They don’t have the knowledge, skills, or independence to assess the police and the political direction it receives.

    The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services conducts investigations of this very nature. Using subject matter experts, interviews and direct observations, as well as conducting extensive research and analysis, the COPS Office in March 2015 released their assessment of the San Diego Police Department’s policies and practices for preventing, detecting and investigating misconduct. The San Diego Police Department requested the review by the COPS Office following a series of misconduct incidents over the course of five years. As painful as this investigation would be, this is what the CPD needs to start regaining trust and credibility.

  49. - The Grand Old Partisan - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    In regards to the FOP being able to “cow” McCarthy, isn’t it possible that he was trying to save his own skin - and his Emanuel’s - by not correcting the initial press release, and is not trying to shift (or at least share) the blame?

  50. - The Grand Old Partisan - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:16 pm:

    *now, not “not”

  51. - What? - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:17 pm:

    Why not just make it easier to fire all public employees in the state? I’m sure the rank and file within CPD is not going to take to kindly to being singled out and then they just might not show-up anymore when you need them in Lincoln Park.
    Oh wait, red herring…..what I meant was all police bad, unionized public employees that vote Democrat good.

  52. - Led Z - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:19 pm:

    No doubt, collective bargaining agreements can be an impediment to weeding out bad cops, but I think the FOP is a little too convenient of a scapegoat for McCarthy and Rahm. If there’s a will, there’s a way. Dozens of cases recommending discipline are overturned by the police board, that has little to do with the contract. McCarthy was defending a police shooter (Dante Servin) just a few weeks ago and criticizing Alvarez for bringing charges against him. Again, that has nothing to do with the FOP contract.

  53. - Led Z - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:33 pm:

    Unions often work like public defenders: they feel like they have a duty to advocate for there client/member, even when they know they did something bad. To a certain extent, unions have a quasi-fiduciary responsibility to defend their members because their members have paid dues, in part, for that service.

    Obviously, a bad cop can do a lot more damage than a bad teacher, or lousy clerk at the DMV.

  54. - What? - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:42 pm:

    @Led Z
    Interesting point, but are teachers and clerks facing life or death situations on a pretty regular basis? See how it can go both ways? It’s sheer hypocrisy to single out cops and leave other public employees alone. The protections that we’ve implemented for public workers in this state is ridiculous.

  55. - Rod - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:47 pm:

    Chicago Cynic Eric Zorn has already explained in detail Pat Camden role and why he has the power he has in this city. See

  56. - JackD - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 2:58 pm:

    “Unions often work like public defenders.” Public defenders do not typically lie. Camden’s description of where he got his “information” for the statement after the incident clearly distinguishes his role as union spokesman from that of a public defender. He stated his conclusion from hearsay upon hearsay upon hearsay without saying where he got it and as though it was truth. Not a lie, I guess, but clearly deceptive.

  57. - Pacman - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 3:19 pm:

    Don’t fault the FOP they’re just doing their job. I fault the CPD command staff for allowing the FOP to speak on the departments behalf rather than a PIO.

  58. - Harry - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 3:24 pm:

    Van Dyke apparently pulled the trigger 16 times and in all the time it took to do that, no other cop told him, “The kid is down, stop shooting”?

    But someone got to the Burger King and erased evidence quick enough.

    I don’t have the solution, and I have Chicago cops in the family, but don’t anyone go making excuses, this ain’t right.

    And why the heck does everyone cater to the FOP when they defend a Burge or a Van Dyke? Sorry but I doubt McCarthy brought that with him from NY or Newark–someone HERE told him he had to do that.

  59. - Cannon649 - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 3:55 pm:

    I do not believe the “family” got $5 million from the city. The City may have paid $ 5 million but family did not get it.

    The police may have resigned but I think the people would the “terms” of that deal.

    Rahm should be taken out of the this process entirely.

  60. - Rod - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 4:21 pm:

    Harry according to the reports I read the 16 shots were fired within 30 seconds. I doubt another Officer could have communicated with Officer Van Dyke in that time frame nor could he have heard much.

    I think a lot of people obviously think the shooting was not right, but what is not right may also may not equate in a court of law to murder when done by a police officer in the line of duty. That is what is very unnerving for me as a Chicagoan. Officer Van Dyke will have a chance of being found not guilty of murder and the African American community could explode. That is a very disturbing thought to this city of Chicago resident.

  61. - Distant Viewer - Wednesday, Dec 2, 15 @ 5:06 pm:

    I think that the rank and file might NOT hate an outsider. There seems to be a number of good cops that are now showing they are fed up with being lumped in with the bad ones. If the new person comes in on an anti-corruption/praise for good policing platform it seem logical that the majority would welcome this fresh leadership style. That said, maybe there is an insider who could play this role. Either way, the new Supt has to be a reformer or we’ll be back here again soon.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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