Laquan McDonald was executed by a Chicago policeman at the tender age of 17. Video of his murder by white policeman Jason Van Dyke could have been released over a year ago but wasn’t, most likely because of the heated re-election battle for mayor. While we know that police officers entered the Burger King restaurant that was directly across from where the execution took place, they spent two hours supposedly viewing a video that State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez said had no evidence on it.
The release of the video immediately after McDonald’s murder would have been a game-changer in the election and it is generally agreed there is no way Rahm Emanuel would have been re-elected. What’s more, there is no way the higher echelons in Chicago’s police command didn’t know what happened and what the likely reason was, any more than there is no way that the State’s Attorney’s office would have been kept in the dark, or for that matter, the mayor’s office. The murder of a teen is the stuff powder kegs are made of.
The State’s Attorney is sticking by her story that there was nothing in the Burger King video even though we have testimony from two Burger King witnesses to the contrary.
The video released by the State’s Attorney has no sound. ABC 7 Chicago was able to obtain a video with sound (video is included below the fold.) ABC 7 reporters assert that they verified authenticity via their sources.
Chicago is in one of the 14 states that have given Fraternal Orders of Police special bills of rights .
All of this reeks of cover up and begs for an independent investigation. But here is the most infuriating part, FBI Director Comey, not three weeks ago, gave a speech about which I wrote an in-depth analysis, and in which he gave the most curious and ridiculous explanation for the higher murder rate in Chicago. That explanation may yet prove to be a portend for what was yet to come:
“What could be driving an increase in murder in some cities across all regions of the country, all at the same time? What explains this map and this calendar? Why is it happening in all of different places, all over and all of a sudden?
But I’ve also heard another explanation, in conversations all over the country. Nobody says it on the record, nobody says it in public, but police and elected officials are quietly saying it to themselves. And they’re saying it to me, and I’m going to say it to you. And it is the one explanation that does explain the calendar and the map and that makes the most sense to me.
Maybe something in policing has changed.
In today’s YouTube world, are officers reluctant to get out of their cars and do the work that controls violent crime? Are officers answering 911 calls but avoiding the informal contact that keeps bad guys from standing around, especially with guns?
I spoke to officers privately in one big city precinct who described being surrounded by young people with mobile phone cameras held high, taunting them the moment they get out of their cars. They told me, “We feel like we’re under siege and we don’t feel much like getting out of our cars.”
I’ve been told about a senior police leader who urged his force to remember that their political leadership has no tolerance for a viral video.”
Remember, if Comey had no idea what it was Chicago police were sitting on for a year, the officers he spoke to privately knew *exactly* what was on all the videos that exist of Laquan McDonald’s murder by one of their own. But even if this conversation took place completely innocently, why would anyone in his right mind want to entrust an independent investigation of Chicago PD to an FBI director who thinks that police not doing their job for fear of videos of their handiwork surfacing on the internet is an appropriate and logical rationalization for a police department that is shirking its duty to bully a population into compliance through the passive infliction of grief?
This brings me to the other analysis I wrote right before the one on Comey. Attorney General Loretta Lynch made her own faux-pas just the week before Comey’s. She gave an interview to Chuck Todd in which she made no bones about defending police departments on the collection of data on police killings. Her comments, and come to think of it, her record as federal prosecutor in New Jersey, point to a mentality that is decidedly neoliberal, authoritarian, and pro-law enforcement, when at this juncture in American history, what the people desperately need is someone who is willing and able to break from the influence and mentality of Fraternal Orders of Police. Lynch, the product of a family that serves in law enforcement, is most clearly not that person.
The White House distanced itself from both officials’ statements in rather short order. The Department of Justice issued a position clarification on the Monday following the Thursday she gave Chuck Todd her interview. FBI Director Comey attempted to walk back some of his statement in answer to a reporter’s question. The fact remains, however, that neither official can be trusted to do the right thing. In fact, other than issuing a comprehensive report on Ferguson, the DOJ has yet to act on any of the horrors this nation witnessed since the murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
I realize that in today’s political environment, it would be impossible for President Obama to act upon any buyer’s remorse he may have with respect to the installation of either Comey or Lynch in their respective positions. Assuming he really is horrified at what happened in Chicago, he should bypass both DOJ and FBI and name a special prosecutor, just like the one who investigated Bill Clinton for years, to look into the wheeling and dealing in Chicago, as well as any criminal activity Chicago PD may have engaged in in an effort to obstruct justice.
This is President Obama’s last year in office. America’s Black population not only has taken the brunt of the Great Recession with the highest unemployment rates and slowest path to recovery, but even worse, suffered huge losses in human life with no relief in the way of justice. The Black community has stood by and suffered in silence as the best, brightest, and loudest of its luminaries sang the praises of a presidency that offered only empty words for solace. A lot could be done in the year that remains to rectify some of the terrible injustices that have been allowed to go unanswered.
“And here we are at the center of the arc, trapped in the gaudiest, most valuable, and most improbably water wheel the world has ever seen. Everything now, we must assume, is in our hands; we have no right to assume otherwise. If we–and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on or create, the consciousness of the others– do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. If we do not now dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, recreated from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: “God gave Noah the rainbow sign, No more water, the fire next time!”
A judge ordered the city to release that disturbing video by Wednesday. However, sources leaked a shorter version to ABC7 Chicago Eyewitness News on Tuesday morning, prompting Chicago police to move up the scheduled release.
In light of public safety, ABC7 Chicago Eyewitness News did not air the video until it was officially released and opted only to show part of it during the early news shows. More of the video aired on ABC7 Eyewitness News at 10 p.m.
GRAPHIC VIDEO: Click here to watch the full, 6-minute, unedited video as released by the Chicago Police Department.
Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune
November 27, 2015
Minutes after McDonald was shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke on a Southwest Side street, several police officers entered a Burger King located just yards from where the teen fell, demanding to view the restaurant’s password-protected surveillance video, Jay Darshane, a district manager for the fast-food chain, told the Tribune this week.
When the police left the restaurant almost two hours later, the video had an inexplicable 86-minute gap that included when McDonald was shot, according to Darshane. […]
Read the rest of this article at the Chicago Tribune.
The Other Laquan McDonalds: More Questionable Killings by Chicago Police – The Daily Beast
Chicago cops killed 19 males last year. Autopsies, police statements, and media reports for several of those killings do not add up.
CHICAGO — On July 5, 2014, not far from the intersection of 87th and Morgan on Chicago’s South Side, Warren Robinson hid under a car. Maybe he was uncooperative, as police have said. Maybe he was defiant, or aggressive, or pissed off or any number of emotions that can course through the mind of a 16-year-old boy. Or maybe he was just scared, because the police were about to pump 17 bullets into his 5-foot-9, 135-pound frame.
Whatever the case, police say they recovered a .38-caliber semi-automatic pistol from Robinson. The cops there had guns too, and they used them to shoot Robinson as he climbed out from underneath the car, apparently refusing to drop his piece.
Robinson is the only person shot by Chicago police more times than McDonald was last year. In all, it took 109 Chicago police bullets to kill McDonald, Robinson, and the other 17 men, a Daily Beast review of autopsy reports found.