Don Rose. Introduction by b. traven.
Don Rose, TCP’s insider on Chicago politics has written a biting assessment of how corrupt politics dominated by an Obama-endorsed mayor, Rahm Emanuel, is perpetuating police misconduct. Emanuel, abetted by a compliant city council, has refused to hold the Chicago police force accountable for its discriminatory use of deadly force against minority communities. As ambitious public prosecutors turn their backs on the victims, the police plant evidence and concoct false narratives to hide their abuse of power against minorities. The result is open murder of blacks and Hispanics on our streets, and not just in Chicago.
Racist attitudes and practices by police have existed for decades but are now worsened by overly aggressive “shoot first” approaches that are more typical of troops patrolling a combat zone than cops walking a beat. (Indeed, many police are now combat veterans of America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.) The nation’s police forces have to be demilitarized — not just their weapons, but their attitudes.
It will take strong national leadership dedicated to peace, not to perpetual war, and to fair treatment for all to implement much needed changes. Look over the 2016 political candidates carefully and vote for those who have the guts to resist racism and to end our wars, whether on our streets or on foreign ones. b. traven
Emanuel’s Ego Won’t Let Him Quit
By Don Rose
If you believe the national commentators you’d think Rahm Emanuel will be forced to resign or otherwise removed any day now–“hanging on by his fingertips” as one put it. But they are dead wrong. The last thing this egomaniac would do is knuckle under even to massive demonstrations, nor will the proposed legislation to permit his recall go anywhere in Springfield.
I’m sure he was more than annoyed being named by GQ Magazine as one of the 28 worst people in the country–and equally so when a cable analyst, in enumerating the worst political moves of 2015 as “anything Rahm Emanuel does.” But barring finding a smoking gun in the massive piles of e-mails he had to release last week he will be with us until early 2019. Or in the unlikely event that the ongoing FBI investigation of the murder of Laquan McDonald finds a conspiracy to withhold the video because of his re-election campaign (which many believe).
Speaking of that election campaign, our dear progressive president–Obama by name–must be held personally, almost single-handedly, responsible for Emanuel’s re-election. Obama’s endorsement and endless playback of the commercial he made for Emanuel was clearly responsible for rehabilitating the mayor’s image and delivering two thirds of the African American vote to him. Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia might have won the black and more of the white liberal vote without the president’s drawing power. Thanks, Barack–there’s something for that legacy of yours.
Meanwhile, after firing police chief Garry McCarthy, Emanuel named John Escalante interim chief. A long-time insider, Escalante uttered one of the more incredulous statements of our time, saying you can’t prove one way or another whether there is really a police code of silence. Escalante presumably never heard about Commander John Burge’s torture mill, either.
This exemplifies the problem of finding a chief who can really reform the department. If you get an insider, which the rank-and-file wants, it will be someone steeped in Chicago police culture, part of the broken system, even if a relatively small part. On the other hand, when you go outside, to someone even vaguely committed to change, like McCarthy’s predecessor Jody Weis, you get disrespect and rebellion from the rank and file. Then there’s the racial-ethnic component, with a drumbeat for a black chief coming from the African American community and City Council’s Black Caucus while Latinos hope for an Escalante to keep the job. Go thread that needle, Rahm!
Emanuel and Escalante thus far offer palliatives: more Tasers and sessions teaching cops how to de-escalate situations instead of shooting first.
But still no word about true community policing–a term that Emanuel and McCarthy hijacked and claimed they were executing without a genuine program that goes to the roots of mistrust, such as the one that helped reform Los Angeles and other police forces.
Well, we can take some heart in the fact that although we may be stuck with the mayor, come March we can vote States Attorney Anita Alvarez out of office.
Happy New Year.
Don Rose is a long-time political strategist (now retired) who is part of the conscience of Chicago.