Patterico's Pontifications


Letting a Good Crisis Go to Waste

Filed under: General — JVW @ 3:58 pm

[guest post by JVW]

In the news recently has been the fallout from last year’s fatal shooting of 17-year-old Chicago resident Laquan McDonald by a white Chicago police officer. For those of you not familiar with the case, McDonald was shot in the presence of five officers while brandishing a knife. The initial police report claimed that McDonald had charged the officers, but a long-suppressed dashboard cam video recently released thanks to the persistence of a local journalist has shown that McDonald was almost certainly moving away from police when the officer felled him with his first couple of shots then proceeded to pump at least a dozen more bullets into McDonald’s body as it lay on the street.

Chicago police and public officials immediately suppressed the dashboard camera from a police vehicle which captured the shooting, citing the ongoing investigation. They allegedly also forced a nearby Burger King to erase its footage from a security camera which may have captured at least some of the shooting incident. The “investigation” of the officer would last for over a year during which time the city would agree to a $5 million settlement with the McDonald family for Laquan’s death.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the first Chief of Staff to President Obama, was at the time of the shooting in the midst of a surprisingly tight reelection campaign with his traditional Democrat machine facing a spirited challenge from a county commissioner backed by the SEIU and other key left-wing groups. The police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri had happened only two months earlier, and the decision whether to indict officer Darren Wilson in that matter was still under consideration. It sure seems now that Emanuel and his political machine conspired to keep the video under wraps until Emanuel had safely (albeit narrowly) won re-election. The fact that the police officer involved in the shooting was only indicted once a court ordered the release of the video has led to demands for an investigation into a quid pro quo between the mayor’s political machine and the police department to suppress the video in return for a promise to not indict the cop. Fortunately, the dogged determination of freelance journalist Brandon Smith to force the release of the video has precluded that possible agreement.

Earlier today, Emanuel apologized that this incident “happened on my watch” but avoided specifically accepting blame for any of his actions in this matter. Activists, including the ubiquitous Black Lives Matters crowd, are planning protests to disrupt city and county government operations and a few hours ago there was a march through downtown demanding an investigation into Emanuel’s involvement and his resignation. Certainly no one expects the Obama Justice Department to look deeply into his buddy’s actions, but behind the scenes they must be mulling over whether they can afford to toss him under the bus and privately convince him to step down. It wouldn’t be good for the Democrats to head into the 2016 election with their Illinois power base divided into two opposing camps. I’ll close by sharing the thoughts of Jonah Goldberg, writing over at NRO, who I think has it just about right:

This scandal should be instructive. Conservatives, including me, have generally been dismissive or even contemptuous of the Black Lives Matter movement — and the movement has done much to earn that scorn. Michael Brown was not murdered. The whole “Hands up, don’t shoot” narrative was based on deliberate mythmaking. And the requirement that Democratic politicians be barred from uttering the phrase “All lives matter” is an absurdity out of a Tom Wolfe novel.

But the Chicago scandal isn’t that. Whereas the evidence didn’t support the protesters in the case of Michael Brown, it certainly appears to in the case of Laquan McDonald. Moreover, the Chicago Police Department has an ugly past, and this situation suggests it has an ugly present. Conservatives should pause and consider that despite all of the posturing and hysteria elsewhere, there’s real substance to the movement’s complaints in the Windy City.

The McDonald killing should also spur some reflection among liberals. There’s no simple political pattern to where police abuses arise; they’re certainly not confined to red states, or absent in blue states. But it is easier to predict where politicians will get away with covering them up: cities suffering from one-party rule.


24 Responses to “Letting a Good Crisis Go to Waste”

  1. I would be really interested to hear the thoughts of our Chicago-based commenters on this.

    JVW (aa050c)

  2. Conservatives might stop dismissing BLM’s claims if they actually focused on finding valid claims as opposed to making them up or fabricating outrage just for one statistically insignificant problem.

    They’d also be taken more seriously if some outrage was manufactured for Big Union Big City Politics which created the problems not only in Chicago but across many large cities in the USA. Plenty of Municipal Union Thuggery which Democrats never oppose except when caught on tape (and even then).

    Rodney King's Spirit (2b29eb)

  3. My sister lives in Chicago and told me this weekend that she got all her errands done Sunday and plans to stay home until this is over. Her daughter, for whom she babysits, lives on the north side and that is a problem. I hope the city doesn’t blow up.

    This is another example of the dishonesty and chicanery of Obama who refused to support a black reformer running for the Board of the County. Instead he sided with the ridiculous ploy of electing the son of the dying John Stroger while the father was incapacitated with a stroke. It proved that Obama was just a Chicago pol.

    Mike K (90dfdc)

  4. Dr. K, I liked this line from the Stroger link you provided:

    Stroger came under increased fire in the later years of his presidency for what his critics call a scandal- and patronage-ridden administration. Stroger supporters counterclaimed that he dedicated his public career to providing quality and affordable health care for the poorer residents of Cook County.

    This is pretty much the perfect summary of the urban Democrat political machines of the past 150 years. “Yeah, he filled his own pockets and those of his allies, but he once in a while managed to funnel down a few bucks to the rest of us.”

    JVW (d60453)

  5. black lives matters are being total pu**ies

    if this were any other city they’d be going all out

    but here they just going through the motions

    happyfeet (831175)

  6. it’s not even cold and they can’t even register a 2 on the Ferguson scale

    happyfeet (831175)

  7. Rahm is a pale, weaker version of Obama. No alpha male Boss he. His function is to divide up the graft and patronage among the other very small people who are Chicago’s politicians. He would be impressed by a second-rate fraud like McCarthy. McCarthy should have been fired a couple of years ago when an audit showed that he had “reduced the crime rate” simply by not counting 25% (that’s one out of four) of crimes or reclassifying them into a non-index category.

    The only thing that bothers me about this case is the $5 million payoff to the kid’s DNA donors. They do not deserve the label of “parents”. He wasn’t worth the $5 worth of ammunition that blew him away. He was a throwaway kid, a ward of the state with a long juvenile record. The black people of his neighborhood were made a little bit better off when he was abated.

    The fix is already in with the cop. Anita Alvarez, the State’s Attorney, threw the case from the word go when she indicted him with first degree murder. That’s what used to be death penalty murder in Illinois. Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, John Gacy kind of murder. Any honest jury will find reasonable doubt. I don’t know that I mind that.

    nk (dbc370)

  8. Why didn’t they destroy the dashcam tape?

    seeRpea (e151be)

  9. McCarthy should have been fired a couple of years ago when an audit showed that he had “reduced the crime rate” simply by not counting 25% (that’s one out of four) of crimes or reclassifying them into a non-index category.

    I love that McCarthy cut his teeth helping Cory Booker lie about the reduction of crime in Newark. I love how all Obama’s cronies end up screwing each other over through their mendacity.

    JVW (d60453)

  10. A page where there’s been a lot of discussion of this case:
    The author of said blog argues that the first shots were justified, but the other shots were almost certainly improper.

    Ibidem (f7be92)

  11. Black Lives Matter is clearly a tool of the Obama administration created to get out the black vote by appealing to race hatred and fear. So the question this raises for me is this: is BLM getting out of control and turning on its creator, or is it doing Obama’s bidding while giving Obama deniability?

    Both seem plausible. Rahm no doubt has a lot of dirt on Obama and Obama’s team, so they can’t go after him directly but I can see that they would be really pissed and want to get rid of him. On the other hand, you can hardly form a group like that without pulling in a lot of activists who really believe in the cause. It is possible that a few of the real activists accidentally got into positions of influence in the organization and that they won’t listen to their masters when it goes against their core beliefs.

    If the protests die out after a few days we can assume it was a few true activists going against Obama’s wishes. If the movement grows, it will be harder to call.

    Cugel (043183)

  12. I think that the core of Black Olives Kalamata is composed of extras from the Screen Actors Guild whose other gig is to cheer Trump at his public appearances.

    nk (dbc370)

  13. Some random thoughts as a long time resident of Chicago.

    Was the shooting justified? Probably not in my opinion, given what we see on tape. However, I will let whatever counter arguments and facts unknown to the general public come out at trial and see where those takes us. To use another local story as guide, Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks was accused of rape this past summer. If you listened to sports talk radio (yet another bastion of left wing thinking) or read the papers, Kane was guilty as charged. It now appears that his accuser made up many of the facts about this situation, probably to try to extract lucre from Kane. The DA in NY refused to indict.

    Say Rahm is ousted, who takes over? Not a conservative. Rahm is the conservative. Karen Lewis and Jesus “Chuy” Garcia make Rahm look like G. Gordon Liddy politically. That is how bad things are here.

    Blacks will vote D no matter what. They will not vote in the numbers that they have the last 2 elections simply for 1 fact: Obama will not be on the ballot. Their numbers will be down, just how far is the question. But they know what side their bread is buttered on and that means vote D.

    AS is the case in many urban areas, the vast majority of whites are left wing. Their numbers may also be down due to Obama not being on the ballot but they will vote. R’s get about 25% of the vote in Chicago in presidential years. That will be about the turnout in 2016.

    AS I have always said, there are 3 conservative in the City of Chicago, I have yet to meet the other 2. (:

    Ipso Fatso (10964d)

  14. I wish there was an edit function. Oh well. Karen Lewis, who heads up the local public school teachers union, would be proud of my misspellings, etc.

    Ipso Fatso (10964d)

  15. True, the face of these protests, are really Occupy nihilists, the kind that grew into the Baader and the Brigatte in other places, and other times,

    narciso (732bc0)

  16. I only know what I see on the Internet, but Rahm Emmanuel seems to be a vile, spiteful little man. But, hey, it’s America. It’s hard for vile, spiteful little men to get ahead in a great big world but our great country put him in a place of prominence. So, go America! Where even vile, spiteful men can be rich and powerful beyond their dreams. I’m really not kidding about this. By his own admission, though, I wouldn’t want to live with his wife. It’s hard being a Democrat pimp in the big city.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  17. he was still one of the smart ones with a piece of a clue, he thought the trial of KSM in NY was going to be poor move, and had some arguments over pushing health care over economic policy,

    narciso (732bc0)

  18. Yes, that’s about his speed, to whisper in the king’s ear. A Thomas Cromwell, not a Henry VIII and by no stretch a Thomas More. He reached his Peter Principle level of incompetence as mayor. But, like Ipso said, that’s as good as it gets in Chicago right now.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. I would imagine that Emanuel opposed moving the KSM trial to NY and the pivot to health care before the economy had improved not because he had some sort of principled opposition to either move, but because he saw both of them in purely political terms and judged them to be largely unpopular. The irony of Rahm Emanuel is that he was obviously way better suited to the unprincipled fixers in the Clinton Administration than he was to the clueless ideologues in the Obama Administration.

    JVW (d60453)

  20. that McDonald was almost certainly moving away from police when the officer felled him with his first couple of shots then proceeded to pump at least a dozen more bullets into McDonald’s body as it lay on the street.

    That makes me think of a video posted some time ago on this blog showing cops in St Louis (on the other side of Ferguson) killing a guy who was walking around outside a liquor store, without a weapon, his arms at his side but pointed in a downward V shape as though to display a “go ahead—I’m all yours” demeanor. He was shouting (slightly paraphrasing), “hey, shoot me, shoot me, go and shoot me!”

    The cops shortly thereafter pumped several bullets into the guy. A nearby bystander was astonished and said something to the effect of “damn, they really went ahead and shot him!”

    I believe Patterico expressed a pro-cop stance about the incident, while I thought here was one instance when the “no justice, no peace” crowd will find me giving them plenty benefit of the doubt.

    The case in Chicago sounds like a variation of that.

    As for the way a liberal mayor will respond to the shooting, or the way his former liberal boss will deal with it, I’m reminded of the following (ie, leftists like Emanuel and Obama being the worst of both worlds):, February 2010: William Kristol is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative thinker, a defender of Bush foreign policy and founding editor of The Weekly Standard. Paul Krugman is a leftist economist who writes for The New York Times. The two, it goes without saying, are not natural allies.

    Yet they can agree on at least one thing: Obama is letting big bankers off too easily. Both are aghast at the president’s nonchalance about the JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs CEO bonuses. “Oh. My. God.” writes an excitable Krugman, as Obama continues to fall short of liberal expectations. “These bank executives,” he explains, “are not free agents who are earning big bucks in fair competition; they run companies that are essentially wards of the state.” Thus, “at the very least, you would think that Obama would understand the importance of acknowledging public anger over what’s happening.”

    “I agree with Paul Krugman,” announces Kristol, not mincing words. “If Obama’s idea of moving to the middle politically is to embrace Wall Street’s too-big-to-fail banks, he’s crazy.” Here’s why:

    Usually Republicans are the party of Big Business and Democrats of Big Government, and the public’s hostility to both more or less evens the politics out. But if Obama now becomes the spokesman for Big Government intrusiveness and the apologist for Big Business irresponsibility all at once–good luck with that.

    Mark (f713e4)

  21. BTW, whatever happened to daleyrocks, carlitos and maybee? I think they were Chicago area commenters as well.

    Ipso Fatso (10964d)

  22. and also the elissa

    happyfeet (831175)

  23. That Homan Square Detention facility story that was in the (below the fold) news in February this year, and back for a bit in October, may have had something going for it after all. I just Googled it and noted that none of the MSM usual suspects are amongst the sources of stories related to it.

    There appear to have been some problems at CPD for some time now…

    Gramps (bc022b)

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