Tuesday, December 08, 2015

can Granny Goodness and can't bust a grape endure Rahm Chiraq blowback?

WaPo |  It is critical that the Justice Department now examine not only the police force, where a culture of impunity and a code of silence are deeply ingrained, but also Chicago’s entire system. That includes the Independent Police Review Authority, which examined 409 cases of police-involved shootings in the eight years ending Sept. 30 — and found just two unjustified. (Both involved off-duty police.) It includes the prosecutor’s office, headed by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, which seems to blanch at the prospect of indicting abusive officers, perhaps for fear of losing police cooperation in criminal investigations.

And it includes legal protections enshrined in union contracts as well as a state law known as the law enforcement officers’ “bill of rights.” The effect of those protections is to erect formidable barriers to discipline, let alone prosecution, in the event of police misconduct. For example: Officers involved in a shooting are afforded a 24-hour grace period before they must speak to investigators — a privilege that may be used to ensure their accounts jibe with those of their colleagues. In the McDonald killing, at least seven other officers were on the scene and five of them corroborated the allegedly mendacious account of Mr. Van Dyke, who said Mr. McDonald was menacing him with a knife. In fact, the video shows the victim heading away from the officers.

The problems in Chicago are complex and decades in the making; cleaning up the police force will require investigators to use a wide aperture. While Mr. Emanuel has promised cooperation, there is likely to be a good deal of institutional resistance to the federal probe. But the payoff, in terms of building the case for real reform, could be enormous.