Educate All Students: Larry Miller's Blog

December 6, 2015

James Causey: In wake of teen’s murder, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel must go

Filed under: BlackLivesMatter — millerlf @ 4:45 pm

James Causey MJS 12/6/15

In Causey’s opinion piece he compares his call for the removal of Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to Milwaukee and the Dontre Hamilton killing. He states, “Many called for the heads of Manney(the police shooter), Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett. In the case of Flynn and Barrett, it didn’t happen. Maybe it should have.”

Rahm Emanuel has to go. The Chicago mayor must resign immediately to restore trust in a city still reeling from the public execution of a teenager by a police officer more than a year ago.

Emanuel demanded the resignation of Chicago Police Superintended Garry McCarthy because he said police officers are only effective when they have the trust of those they serve.

But what about Emanuel? Who can trust him? Was he silent because this incident occurred during an election cycle? He should do the next right thing. He should resign.

It should not have taken 400 days — and a court order — to get video footage of the shooting of Laquan McDonald released. What was going on? A coverup?

Chicago minorities had little confidence in their police department and the city’s leaders even before they watched the video of Laquan, 17, shot 16 times in the middle of the street by an officer who claims the teen lunged at him with a knife.

Chicago has had more than 400 homicides this year, earning it the nickname “Chiraq,” and its leaders are clueless on how to end the violent deaths of blacks. That’s reason enough to question top leadership.

The video shows Laquan walking away from officer Jason Van Dyke in the middle of the street during the October, 2014 incident. Van Dyke had his weapon pointed at the teen — who was carrying a knife — when he opened fire from about 15 feet away. He appeared to continue to shoot the teen while the boy lay dying in the middle of the street. Laquan did not appear to lunge at Van Dyke.

The former officer is charged with murder. Van Dyke was released from jail hours after posting 10% of his $1.5 million bond.

Citizens are upset over the video, and they should be. But they are mostly upset at how they could be kept in the dark for more than a year. There is little doubt that even a cursory review of the video would establish sufficient probable cause for Van Dyke’s immediate arrest. Where was Emanuel in this?

I’ll tell you where: MIA

A group of retired black Chicago police officers on Wednesday called for a federal probe of the department because they claimed that the alleged misconduct “had been going on for years.” The only difference now? It was caught on camera.

Minority citizens have known this for years. The fact that it is now being validated by retired officers doesn’t make me feel any better. In fact, it’s disappointing that they chose not to speak up when the crimes were happening.
Did they trade their conscience for their careers? It appears, sadly, that they did.
There are striking similarities between the shooting death of Laquan and that of Dontre Hamilton in Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Park. Hamilton, 31, was shot 14 times in broad daylight in April, 2014, by officer Christopher Manney. Many called for the heads of Manney, Police Chief Edward Flynn and Mayor Tom Barrett. In the case of Flynn and Barrett, it didn’t happen. Maybe it should have.

Flynn fired Manney for violating police department

rules, and the Fire and Police Commission upheld that decision although Manney receives duty-disability retirement. That doesn’t sit right with me.

Last month, Flynn asked for a formal review of his department by the U.S. Department of Justice. He believes this will show the department is trying to be transparent and wants to improve. Federal and local leaders who have gone through the review process said it has helped to reduce the use of force within police departments. So fine, do a review.

But what the public mostly wants is respect. They want to know that when they call the police the cops will be there to help them, not harm them. Flynn’s request will not fix the distrust that exists between police and the black community in my town. Some people will never trust police, and some police will never trust some of the people they are sworn to serve. That’s just an ugly reality. But they need to coexist.

Nate Hamilton, the older brother of Dontre said some officers will never respect certain people because of their income, status or color. He said things may have turned out differently in Milwaukee had there been a video.
“This incident happened in broad daylight, downtown. There were more than 60 eyewitnesses, and no one captured it on their cellphones,” Hamilton said.

A final point on the death of the Chicago teen: There clearly is a “no snitching” culture in the police force in that city — a blue wall of silence. There were a number of officers on the scene at the time of the shooting and yet they said nothing.

Van Dyke, who had a history of complaints before he gunned down the teen, turned himself in to authorities a few hours before the video of him gunning down Laquan was made public.

Emanuel needs to go. The citizens of Chicago should demand it.

James E. Causey is a Journal Sentinel columnist and blogger. Email james.causey@jrn.com. Facebook: fb.me/jamescausey.12 Twitter: jecausey

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