1/26/16 Chicago Corruption

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Chicago has had a reputation as a city of lawlessness and corruption since at least the days of early organized crime. Many people today think nothing’s changed.

I told you about Laquan McDonald. He was the unarmed teenager shot 16 times.  Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with his murder but not until 13 months after the tragic death. Van Dyke was charged hours before a court-ordered video release. Prosecutors now say this video shows an unjustified shooting.

There were allegations of a police cover-up between the day of the shooting and the dash cam video release.

[86 minutes of outdoor surveillance video that purportedly captured the shooting mysteriously vanished.  A representative of the Burger King restaurant that housed the surveillance system claimed Chicago police officers entered the restaurant minutes after the shooting and erased the video.  Additionally the official statements of the seven police officers who witnessed the shooting are at odds with what the dash cam video depicted.]

Emails just released under an open-records request support these suspicions.  The Office of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the police department and an independent review agency coordinated actions.

Created by the city council in 2007, the Independent Police Review Authority is supposed to be just that: independent.  Its website includes all the usual phrases about transparency, public accountability, and building trust.

But emails released to several media outlets suggest otherwise, according to the Associated Press.  Mayoral, police and agency officials “closely coordinated their actions.”

Internal records reviewed last year by a news organization raised questions about the IPRA’s independence.  Last summer, an investigator was fired after refusing to change findings that several police shootings of civilians were unjustified.

It’€™s easy to see what some Chicagoans see the system as rigged.

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