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Monday, Dec 7, 2015

* The power of video

Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez on Monday will announce the results of an investigation into a fatal Chicago police shooting that occurred a week before 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot and killed by a different officer.

The announcement in the case of Ronald Johnson III comes less than a week after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the city would drop its fight against release of police dashboard video showing an officer shooting Johnson in the back on the South Side.

* Is anyone really surprised?

Newly released documents in the fatal shooting of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald – including original incident reports, as well as summaries filed later by detectives — show that critical aspects of some officers’ version of events are not backed up by the now widely-viewed video of the incident. […]

One report states that as Van Dyke arrived and exited his vehicle, McDonald was “swinging the knife in an aggressive, exaggerated manner.” […]

In the video, Van Dyke begins firing at McDonald within about 30 seconds of arriving on the scene, near Pulaski Road and 41st Street — though the other officers already on the scene did not fire.

The report, however, has Van Dyke fearing for his life.

* Go read this entire story

It is a system seemingly designed to fail.

Chicago police officers enforce a code of silence to protect one another when they shoot a citizen, giving some a sense they can do so with impunity.

Their union protects them from rigorous scrutiny, enforcing a contract that can be an impediment to tough and timely investigations.

The Independent Police Review Authority, the civilian agency meant to pierce that protection and investigate shootings of citizens by officers, is slow, overworked and, according to its many critics, biased in favor of the police.

* Oh, geez

It sounds like something James Bond would carry: A knife that’s also a gun.

But it is the kind of thing police officers are warned about from time to time, just as they are about guns disguised as belt buckles and tire gauges and motorcycle handlebars modified to fire a shotgun round.

The knife-gun, which isn’t well known outside of gun enthusiast circles, has pushed its way into the case surrounding the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old who was shot 16 times by a white Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke.

The city released more than 300 pages of police reports and other investigation documents late Friday pertaining to the case, including a December 2012 bulletin warning officers about a “revolver knife” and a reference to Van Dyke remembering the bulletin.

During an interview with his superiors about the sequence of events and his decision to use deadly force, Van Dyke said he was aware of throwing knives, spring-loaded knives that propel a blade and he “recalled a previously issued Chicago Police Department bulletin warning of a weapon which appeared to be a knife but which actually was capable of firing a bullet, making it a firearm.”

* Meanwhile, if you read this Sun-Times story, you’ll see that the alderman who claimed they were deliberately misled by the mayor’s office about the shooting aren’t really telling the truth

In painstaking detail, Patton described how Officer Jason Van Dyke, whom Patton did not identify by name on that day, fired 16 shots into McDonald’s body on October 20, 2014, as five other responding officers exercised restraint.

* And here come the feds

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Monday the Justice Department civil pattern or practice probe of the Chicago Police Department will focus on the police use of force, racial bias and its systems of accountability.

Lynch said the investigation will review in part the department’s use of force and deadly force, how any violations are investigated, how those officers are disciplined and whether there is any racial or ethnic disparity in how those matters are handled.

* Here’s what to expect

A pattern or practice review determines whether there are unlawful policing practices in a police department. If there is an agreement that remedies need to take place, the negotiated deal is overseen by a federal judge who appoints an independent monitor. If there is no agreement, the Justice Department can go to federal court and seek an order.

According to the Justice Department, “in addition to gathering information directly from community members, all pattern and practice investigations involve interviewing police and local officials, gathering information from other criminal justice stakeholders, observing officer activities through ride-alongs and other means, and reviewing documents and specific incidents that are relevant to the investigation.

“At the conclusion of an investigation, the division issues a public report detailing the findings. If the investigation finds no systemic violations of constitutional or federal statutory rights by the law enforcement agency, the division will state that and close the investigation. If, on the other hand, there are findings of patterns or practices of misconduct, the division will articulate precisely what those patterns or practices are, and will identify any systemic deficiencies underlying those patterns.”

* Related…

* ADDED: Sen. Mark Kirk Reacts to Laquan Mcdonald Shooting: “As far as I’m concerned, every single police officer who witnessed this shooting and failed to arrest officer Jason Van Dyke or who falsified reports to mislead investigators should be off the streets,” said Sen. Kirk in a statement. “And every person who made an effort to hide the murder of Lacquan McDonald should be held accountable by either the Department of Justice investigation, the federal grand jury investigation or the upcoming trial,” Kirk added.

* This Is How London Police Deal With A Knife-Wielding Suspect

* Rahm Emanuel op-ed: I own the problem of police brutality, and I’ll fix it

* Black People Are Not Ignoring ‘Black on Black’ Crime: To the extent that killings by the police generate more outrage, it is completely understandable. Police in America are granted wide range of powers by the state including lethal force. With that power comes a special place of honor. When cops are killed the outrage is always different than when citizens are killed. Likewise when cops kill under questionable terms, more scrutiny follows directly from the logic of citizenship. Great power. Great responsibility.

* Police review authority boss ousted: A former federal prosecutor will head the agency charged with investigating police shootings in Chicago after the immediate resignation of its chief administrator, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office announced Sunday.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - Paul Kemp - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 10:36 am:

    Good stuff from Chapman. It’s also worth bearing in mind that rifles - all rifles - are used in 1 or 2 percent of all gun homicides. The FBI doesn’t even bother to classify the subset of “assault rifles,” (or semi-automatic rifles, for that matter). They simply aren’t used in quotidian crime and banning them would, at its very best, prevent perhaps 200 murders per year. And that is working from the highly unlikely assumption that the would-be murderers wouldn’t just use, say, a handgun instead.

    Short of repealing the Second Amendment altogether and outright confiscating millions of weapons, as proposed on the front page of The New York Times this week, what new proposals are being offered? Considering this is a hyperliberal pipe dream, I imagine a good place to start would be to more strictly enforce the federal and state gun laws we already have. They’re fairly strict; if we want to “do something!,” I suggest we start there.


  2. - wordslinger - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 10:45 am:

    What about the Chatham video?

    The IPRA chief that Emanuel just canned has been accused of a former investigator of firing him for not participating in a cover-up of the Chatham shooting.

    The investigator, Lorenzo Davis, said IPRA chief Ando fired him after he refused to “justify” the Chatham shooting, as he considered it murder.


  3. - walker - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 10:52 am:

    It’s the cover up that grinds.

    Five other officers were there seeing what VanDyke drove up on, and didn’t consider themselves threatened enough to fire any shots.

    He was the outlier, murderously out of control, and ultimately a danger to all other cops. Yet, rather than separating him out from the herd, they circled the wagons.


  4. - GV - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 10:57 am:

    “Its a bird.” “Its a plane.” “Its a bird plane gun.” - CPD


  5. - Langhorne - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 11:05 am:

    Knife-gun? Seriously? What about a gun hidden in an umbrella or cane? Or a flashlight, or maybe a deadly fruitcake?

    He went down with the first shot. The next 15 were obviously overkill. You would think one of the other officers would have yelled cease fire.


  6. - Paul Kemp - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 11:22 am:

    Oops. Commented on the wrong post. You can go ahead and delete that, Rich. I will post it in the appropriate place.


  7. - Tam 212 - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    How many tasers are deployed in CPD? It seems the only time we hear about them are when something goes wrong, i.e., when one isn’t available or when serious injury/death results from taser employment.


  8. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 11:29 am:

    16 shots. $5 million approved by the aldermen. Only now do they care about asking questions.
    They are complicit in whatever they accuse Emanuel or Alvarez of.
    Any protest of Emanuel and Alvarez needs to be of the aldermen as well.
    Any protest of Van Dyke needs to be of Glenn Evans as well.


  9. - Anonin' - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 11:55 am:

    Mr/Ms/Mx Tam 212
    The taser # IS STUNNING and likely the next element of this sad tragedy to come out….probably after the poll data


  10. - Urban Girl - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 1:48 pm:

    The aldermen should be concerned. They do not have the mayor’s campaign fund or press shop at their disposable. In 2019, I would not want to be an alderman that voted on this settlement and the parking meter deal, or some other questionable vote for which I asked no questions. Showing up is job number one, but asking some f-ing questions.


  11. - Left Leaner - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 1:49 pm:

    The video showing the London situation and comparing it to one in San Francisco is chilling to the bone.

    Why aren’t police here using tasers more often?!


  12. - @MisterJayEm - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 2:09 pm:

    Within nine days of that shooting the city collected all evidence in the case, including the dash-cam video, and turned it over to prosecutors. No one could have predicted that it would take more than a year to finish the probe. *** [The] prolonged period between when the shooting occurred and when charges were filed created mistrust.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-rahm-emanuel-laquan-mcdonald-police-perspec-20151204-story.html

    Seems like Rahm “owning” and “taking responsibility” is nearly indistinguishable from when he’s passing the buck.

    – MrJM


  13. - Anonymous - Monday, Dec 7, 15 @ 3:44 pm:

    Saw that the newly-appointed head of IPRA is married to a private investor so well-connected that Rahm described the husband as a member of his “kitchen cabinet” according to the Chicago Reader. So much for an “Independent” Police Review. Meet the new boss same as the old boss.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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