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Fascinating insights into Jason Van Dyke’s judge

Wednesday, Sep 12, 2018

* That’s definitely one way of looking at it…



* The Cook County judge in the Jason Van Dyke case regarding the killing of Laquan McDonald was a Vietnam veteran who was apparently suffering from severe PTSD. In 1970, he was living with his parents while attending law school. Steve Bogira at the Chicago Reader explains what happened next

At 3 AM the following morning [after a traffic accident scuffle], the couple next door was awakened by gunfire. Two bullets had shattered their bedroom window and pierced the wall above their bed, according to [Bill Mullen’s Tribune] story. The couple ran from the bedroom, and the husband, Darius Latchin, called police. When two officers arrived at the home, Latchin showed them into his dining room. He was talking with them when two more shots came through a window, narrowly missing the officers.

Police soon determined that the gunfire had come from the third floor of the Gaughan home (Mullen’s story doesn’t explain how), and officers swarmed on the home. Gaughan called down the stairway, saying he wanted to talk with Father John Richardson—a priest at DePaul and a friend of his. Richardson, who was DePaul’s vice president, was soon in Gaughan’s foyer, discussing the situation with sergeant Charles Adamson and other officers. According to Mullen’s Tribune story, Richardson told the officers he knew Gaughan well, and that “he won’t hurt me.”

As the priest started up the stairs, Gaughan called down: “Wait—I want a policeman to come too. An Irish sergeant.”

“That broke the tension,” Mullen wrote. “The policemen smiled, and the guns went down.” Adamson said he was Irish, and volunteered to accompany Richardson upstairs.

Inside his bedroom Gaughan laid down the M1 rifle he’d fired. “He came downstairs and outside with Father Richardson, where both got into a squadrol,” Mullen wrote. Gaughan’s father asked to go to the station too, and an officer “put his arm on the old man’s shoulder” and offered to take him in his squad car.

Mullen reported that Gaughan was charged with aggravated assault, unlawful use of a weapon, failure to register a weapon, and discharging a firearm in the city. But there was a warm and uplifting tone to the story nonetheless. Police had worked to calm Gaughan and had responded with restraint—extraordinary restraint, if indeed four people, two of them police officers, had nearly been shot. The officers called to the scene hadn’t tried to chase Gaughan from his room with tear gas, which could have led to a deadly shootout on the stairway.

I wondered if the fact that Gaughan was white and a war hero had played a role in this patient response. Gaughan had been armed with a rifle that had a range of 500 yards. (Laquan McDonald had a folding knife with a three-inch blade.) A perilous threat had been mitigated, and no one had been harmed.

Go read the rest.

* Related…

* Four more jurors — including first African-American — picked in Van Dyke’s trial for shooting Laquan McDonald

* Live Blog: 2nd Day of Jury Selection Underway in Jason Van Dyke Trial

* Feder: Van Dyke trial to air on CLTV: WGN reporter Julie Unruh will lead the station’s coverage, starting with opening statements by the prosecution and defense through the conclusion of the trial. Jury selection is currently underway. CLTV is carried on Comcast Xfinity Channels 352/1091, RCN Channel 616 and Mediacom Channel 215.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

18 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 3:27 pm:

    Chicago was a much different city forty-eight years ago. That may account for the differences too.


  2. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 3:28 pm:

    What a wild story. If I were Van Dyke, I’m not sure which way I would bounce on this, when considering a jury or bench trial.

    One things for sure — Gaughan’s lucky he didn’t kill anyone, and he’s lucky to be alive. It could have gone really badly, so easily.


  3. - IKR - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 3:37 pm:

    Rich … white vs black perps treated difrently because of race? Mere speculation and promotes a hateful narrative without a factual basis. How old were the cops? What training and experience did they have? Was the cop black? Too many variables Rich. You wanna call race oppression by Chicago PD? Walk a mile in a CPD cop’s shoes and tell me what you think then.


  4. - Precinct Captain - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    Apparently reading for comprehension is not IKR’s strong suit.


  5. - TominChicago - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 3:51 pm:

    How did Gaughan get past the ARDC’s character and fitness with multiple felonies on his record?


  6. - TominChicago - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 3:53 pm:

    Nevermind. Posted before reading the article.


  7. - wordslinger - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    –Chicago was a much different city forty-eight years ago.

    Yes, the 1970s saw the rise of the most violent era in Chicago history this side of Prohibition. The West Side was still smoldering from the ‘68 riots.


  8. - Anon - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 4:05 pm:

    =How did Gaughan get past the ARDC’s character and fitness with multiple felonies on his record?=

    He disclosed it and didn’t hide anything. The bar doesn’t care so much about what you’ve done in the past necessarily. They care about whether you’re honest about it in the present. Lawyers don’t have a bad reputation for being violent criminals; they have a bad reputation for lying. If you can be honest with them during character and fitness, they will react favorably.


  9. - NIU Grad - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 4:26 pm:

    Looking at who they’re accepting for the jury so far (people who do have some opinions about Van Dyke and the whole situation)…I think they’re going to end up going for a bench trial.


  10. - Perrid - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 4:32 pm:

    It’s a fair comparison, but I think him being more or less contained in his room is a different scenario than McDonald, who was out and about on the street.

    Though it is telling that the story puts so much emphasis on when Gaughan asked for an Irish cop. It “broke the tension”. He basically identified himself as one of “us” instead of one of “them.”


  11. - njt16 - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 4:32 pm:

    ===white vs black perps treated difrently because of race?===

    Google NYC Stop and Frisk.


  12. - Pundent - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 4:42 pm:

    =I think him being more or less contained in his room is a different scenario than McDonald, who was out and about on the street.=

    Contained in his room with a rifle shooting into the neighbors bedroom vs. walking around with a three inch blade with no one in sight.

    Gaughan was lucky, McDonald was not. Draw whatever conclusions you want from that.


  13. - DuPage Saint - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 5:37 pm:

    More important who is his clout?


  14. - Excessively Rabid - Wednesday, Sep 12, 18 @ 5:49 pm:

    There were 811 homicides in Chicago in 1970 compared with 781 in 2016 and 664 in 2017. In 1970, you didn’t really go downtown much at night or on the weekend. At least I didn’t.


  15. - Crispy - Thursday, Sep 13, 18 @ 8:17 am:

    @IKR: Seriously? Where are you from? Because any honest Chicagoan would likely think the same, especially when reflecting on an incident that happened nearly 50 years ago. And it wasn’t just a black-white thing, either (notice that the officers relaxed after he asked for an Irish priest and an Irish cop?). Chicago was always the most tribal of places.


  16. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Sep 13, 18 @ 8:48 am:

    There is a logic way of making it a point that race impacts law enforsement - and this way.

    This way is crazytown.


  17. - Ok - Thursday, Sep 13, 18 @ 9:04 am:

    How we address mental health has, and always will be, one of the main measures of whether we are a community, or a collection of individuals, frightened of the world.


  18. - wordslinger - Thursday, Sep 13, 18 @ 9:08 am:

    –There is a logic way of making it a point that race impacts law enforsement - and this way.

    This way is crazytown.–

    How so?


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