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The [Monday] Papers

"In the latest twist in the high-profile homicide case involving a nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned that the Chicago Police Department's original files from the case were missing for months - possibly years.

"It's the second time that law-enforcement records turned up missing regarding the violent death of 21-year-old David Koschman of Mount Prospect, who succumbed to brain injuries days after getting punched in the face by Daley nephew Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko during a drunken confrontation in the Rush Street area in April 2004."

The other time?

"Seven years ago, the state's attorney's office - headed at the time by Richard Devine, a longtime political ally of the Daley family - reviewed the police department's findings and determined there was insufficient evidence to charge Vanecko or anyone else in Koschman's death or even to know for certain who threw the deadly punch.

"But the prosecutor's office, whose current boss, Alvarez, was Devine's chief of staff, has said it can't find any records showing that it reviewed the case - even though a top prosecutor met face-to-face with witnesses and detectives about it on May 20, 2004.

"Devine has said he can't explain why the state's attorney's office has no paperwork."

*

Maybe the person who hired Angelo Torres has it.

*

Can't someone be held responsible for missing files? Isn't that a rather huge violation of work rules if not the law?

*

"[T]he police department's own Internal Affairs Division has launched a separate investigation into how the department's original case files disappeared, a high-ranking police source said."

Cut-Rate Education
Government by Groupon.

-

Could we use Groupon to buy our parking meters back?

World Business As Usual
"Today, the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (IGO) released a review of World Business Chicago's (WBC) involvement in the City's approval of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposals. The IGO report found that WBC staff advocated for the approval of significant TIF subsidies for two major corporations - CME Group and United Air Lines - despite the fact that the companies' executives were then serving on WBC's board of directors."

Oops!

*

The Chicago Way - running business like a government.

More Horrible Crime Reporting
"Chicago Police officers have shot 40 people this year, nearly as many as in all of 2010," Pulitzer Prize winner Frank Main reports for the Sun-Times. (It was splashed all over the front page in the print edition on Sunday.)

"No one knows for sure why police-involved shootings are up.

"But Officer Danny O'Toole - who killed a suspect in 2009 and was wounded in a shootout just two weeks later - thinks he knows why."

Frankly, I don't care what any particular individual thinks. That's not reporting. That's just writing down what people say regardless of whether they have a basis to say it.

But let's go ahead and see what Mr. O'Toole thinks.

"The younger generation is brazen, they just don't care," he said. "It's 'shoot at the police and make my escape.' And we shoot back."

Oh Lord. Cops have been saying this for eons. Just look through the clips.

But that's just the beginning of why this story is such a mess.

"Police point to statistics that show aggravated assaults and batteries on police officers have risen from 739 in 2000 to 1,789 last year."

That's interesting but why compare to 2000? That's putting a thumb on the scale. The numbers supplied by the Sun-Times actually show that aggravated assaults and batteries on police officers are down this year compared to last year. If the current pace holds up, we'll see about 200 fewer such attacks on police this year (1,789 to 1,572).

So much for O'Toole's theory. According to this data, you cannot conclude that the police are shooting more people because more people are shooting at them.

*

And is it really true that aggravated assaults and batteries on police officers went from 739 in 2000 to 1,480 in 2006 (the Sun-Times doesn't give figures for 2001 through 2005)?

It might be, but I suspect maybe a change in how those incidents are reported figures in. It doesn't square with the falling crime rate, for one thing. For another, such large jumps in crime stats or, say, test scores, are usually explained (at least in part) by reasons other than a large jump in crime or student achievement. Human behavior tends to trend, not soar.

(We also don't know what the stats show for the whole of the 90s; maybe the year 2000 was an outlier.)

*

"Ilana Rosenzweig, director of the Independent Police Review Authority, said she's not sure why police-involved shootings are up but noted they are at a midyear 'high mark' compared to the past four years.

"The spike may be cyclical or there could be systemic causes - involving training or police policy - but it's too early to tell without studying each shooting, Rosenzweig said. The agency investigates every police-involved shooting, even those that don't include allegations of police misconduct, to determine whether there are any lessons to be drawn to make officers or the public safer, she said."

I'm not sure what it would mean for police-involved shootings to be "cyclical," but maybe the police brass could answer the question of whether training or policy has changed. Not a single police department official appears in the story, however.

*

Of the 40 police shootings this year, how many were responses to others shooting police? The Sun-Times doesn't tell us.

*

"CeaseFire Director Tio Hardiman, whose organization mediates conflicts to prevent shootings, said he thinks police are sometimes too quick to pull the trigger these days."

Ahhh, so it's the cops who are more brazen?

Or are they?

Hardiman may be right but I really don't care what he thinks unless he - or someone else - can back it up.

*

"Then there are the neighbors and relatives of those who are shot by the police. They're often skeptical of the circumstances surrounding such shootings, even if investigators determine they were justified.

"For example, Shandra Kidd, 22, was sentenced Thursday to 55 years in prison for pointing a gun at an officer's chest and pulling the trigger in 2007. Kidd didn't realize the gun wasn't loaded, prosecutors said. The officer shot Kidd in the buttocks after she pointed the gun and pulled the trigger a second time, officials said.

"But her mother, Renea Brown, disputed the officer's account.

"'His story does not make any sense,' Brown said. 'If she pointed the gun at his chest, how did she get shot in the butt?'"

Good question. Main, however, just lets it drop there and moves on.

*

I heard a phrase last week that I'd never heard before: The plural of anecdote isn't data.

And I realize data or explanations aren't always available. Better to say so, though, instead of mindless speculation.

*

Finally, note how the story starts as a piece about police shootings being up and quickly turns into a piece about others shooting the police. Just sayin'.

Credit Rating
Who abdicated and left John Boehner president?

*

"White House chief of staff William Daley said Obama was insisting that any package must expand the debt ceiling beyond the next presidential and congressional elections and into 2013 to provide economic certainty."

Why is Barack Obama holding America hostage?

*

From Meet The Press on Sunday:

DAVID GREGORY: Senator Hagel, your former colleague, Alan Simpson, who was part of the deficit commission, was asked by Time magazine whether he'd run again. You're out of this game, as is he. This is what he said. 'Would you run for office now?' was the question. His response, 'Oh, hell, no. Now it's just sharp elbows, and instead of having a caucus where you sit down and say, What are you going to do for your country, you sit figuring out how to screw the other side.' Would you, would you join this party again?

SEN. HAGEL: I think Al has very eloquently stated the case as he is wont to do. He's right. This is scripted politics. [Editor's Note: Hagel reads the Beachwood!] This is a scripted political dimension, forum, caucuses give the members talking points. And you don't stray far from the left or the right of your party. You are actually penalized when you, when you actually question your party or question your administration.

*

MSNBC puts together its re-election team.

Good for America
Beavis and Butt-head are back.

Painting Chicago and Indiana
Peace out, y'all.

The Sad Clowns of Baseball
Cubs get seltzer in their pants.

*

So do Cub fans.

Nice Guys Finish Third
And wear White Sox uniforms.

The Weekend in Chicago Rock
They played at a venue or street fest near you.

Programming Note
Seeing as how it's Monday, I'll be back behind the bar tonight at the venerable Beachwood Inn slinging cold Old Styles and witty bon mots while you eat free pizza and jam the jukebox full of dollars. See you there.

-

The Beachwood Tip Line: Heh-heh.



Permalink

Posted on July 25, 2011


MUSIC - PJ Harvey Wins Pitchfork.
TV - 24 Hours With Velocity.
POLITICS - Reminder: U.S. Health Care Sucks.
SPORTS - World Roller Derby Day.

BOOKS - Trump's True Believers.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Land After Frac Sand.


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