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The [Friday] Papers

"Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is naming a corporate litigator known for representing tobacco companies and defending the closure of Meigs Field to be Chicago's chief lawyer," Greg Hinz reported for Crain's in 2011.

"In an announcement scheduled for later today, Stephen Patton, 57, a senior litigation partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, is being tapped as corporation counsel."

And yet, Rahm Emanuel said this week it was "not possible" the city's law department was part of the Chicago Police Department's "cover-up culture" despite what our own eyes just saw.

Patton, we recall today, has a proud history of defending the cover-uppers.

Meanwhile, help me complete the following sentence: Rahm has more reversals than ___.

This one didn't quite work:

Prompted by this:

"Two days after saying it was 'not possible' his Law Department is part of the cover-up culture that has tainted his Police Department, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he will bring in a "third party" to review the city's legal practices after a federal judge found that city attorneys have withheld evidence in police cases," the Tribune reports.

"It's the latest in a series of reversals for the mayor in which he has staked out a position on the city's handling of police misconduct, only to quickly change course after facing blowback."

Rahm continues to bungle his response to the Laquan McDonald affair, as he has done every. step. of. the. way. See The [Wednesday] Papers.


"Emanuel said Patton will soon announce that a 'third party' will look at the Law Department's Federal Civil Rights Litigation division, where attorney Jordan Marsh worked until he stepped down Monday after Chang found he had intentionally withheld evidence and lied about it in a trial over a fatal 2011 Chicago police shooting."

Patton will announce the independent review of his own department? Rahm, Rahm, Rahm. You know how a lawyer is his worst client and a doctor is his worst patient? You are your worst political consultant.


"Steve Patton, in short order, will be announcing that they're going to bring in a third party to look at that division, create standards and make sure the standards are clear as it relates to professional standards, and to have the training that goes with that," Emanuel said. "And that's what will happen, because it's essential for people's confidence."

That sounds like Patton is bringing in a consulting firm like McKinsey or Accenture, which isn't what most of us had in mind. But the feds read the papers too, and no doubt the city's law department is on their radar.


"The division at issue is called the Federal Civil Rights Litigation Division, and has 59 employees and a budget of $4.7 million," Fran Spielman notes for the Sun-Times.

Massive Dump
"As for the massive New Year's Eve e-mail dump that showed the mayor's staff exerting message control over the so-called Independent Police Review Authority, Emanuel tried mightily to play it down," the Sun-Times reports in the same article. "He argued that there was no conspiracy and no smoking gun."

That's half-true. The e-mails do not show a conspiracy to bury the Laquan McDonald video or interfere with the investigation(s) of the case. They do show a massively concerted effort to spin the case in an all-encompassing drive to protect the mayor. Sadly, that's also business-as-usual for this administration.

But this statement by the mayor is not true:

"The independence of IPRA is quite clear in the e-mails - and every one of you have indicated that."

Unfortunately, that's not what "every one of you" has indicated. The overarching media narrative about the e-mails, driven as far as I can tell by the Sun-Times' first post about them, is that they show an unholy alliance between the mayor's office and IPRA, including coordination on the McDonald investigation. That's simply not true.

IPRA only had the McDonald case for nine days before concluding that criminal charges were likely and shipping it off to the offices of the Cook County State's Attorney's and the U.S. Attorney. We have no evidence that in that nine days City Hall interfered.

What the e-mails do show is a coordination between Rahm's media apparatus and IPRA in responding to the accumulating media inquiries surrounding the release of the video. That probably shouldn't have happened, but one thing the media isn't telling you is that the e-mails show an utter frustration at the inability of reporters and pundits to understand how the disciplinary process works for Chicago police officers. That frustration was justified.

Rahm: "As it relates to answering your questions and inquiries in the media, we do that with all offices and coordinate it. It doesn't impair the independence of their investigations."

Now, I would say that IPRA should be left to its own devices when it comes to media inquiries, both to maintain its distance from the mayor's office and to avoid a public perception that IPRA is a bit too chummy with City Hall, and by extension, the police department. (In the case of ex-IPRA head Scott Ando, that was true, hint, hint; not as much with his predecessor Ilana Rosenzweig.)

And a chummy relationship with City Hall may impair investigations through organizational osmosis, which everyone who has ever worked in an office can attest to.

But if the investigation was impaired in this case, the e-mails do not show it. What they do show is that the media seemed continually unaware that the investigation had been in the hands of Anita Alvarez from almost the beginning.

(Which also explains why no officer could be fired; again, only the Police Board can fire an officer. It can do so only after IPRA has completed an investigation and made a recommendation to the police chief, who in turn makes a recommendation to the board. IPRA can't complete its investigation, which is administrative, if a criminal case is being made; it stops all activities until prosecutors are done. That's why you should beware stories about IPRA "still investigating" a case five years after an incident; in those instances, IPRA is usually waiting to re-open its case after it winds its way through the criminal justice system. Unfortunately, IPRA isn't always clear about this, which is why City Hall is motivated to "interfere" with its media messaging.)


Classic Spielman, copping from herself a couple days earlier:

"But the mayor put his corporation counsel on the clock to make certain that city attorneys never again conceal evidence."

The mayor's the good guy, putting his hand-picked confidant "on the clock" to make certain that it never happens again.

Besides being hopelessly naive, why is it even necessary to include? Honest question: Does anyone edit her work?


Back to the Tribune, briefly:

"In all, Chang has cited and rebuked five city attorneys within the past year for withholding evidence in two separate police misconduct cases."

Like it did earlier this week, the Tribune cites a second case without informing/reminding us what it was or providing a link.


Beachwood Photo Booth: O'Hare Blue Line Man
In living color.

The Color Of Debt: How Collection Suits Squeeze Black Neighborhoods
The disparity was not merely because black families earn less than white families. Even accounting for income, the rate of judgements in three cities examined was twice as high in mostly black neighborhoods as it was in mostly white ones. It was worst in Chicago.

The Week In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Eleventh Dream Day, Sam Prekop & Jim Elkington, Keep Shelly In Athens, Dwele, and Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers.





A sampling.





The Beachwood Tip Line: Diversion therapy.


Posted on January 8, 2016

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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