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The [Thursday] Papers

"After days of street protests urgently calling for changes in the way police treat African Americans, Mayor Lori Lightfoot lamented in a televised speech this week that 'the process of reform has been too slow,'" the Tribune reports.

"Indeed, it took decades to even get to the starting line of reforming the historically troubled Chicago Police Department."

This isn't exactly true.

Technically, the CPD has been at the "starting line" since Day One.

But more to the point, mayor upon mayor and police chief upon police chief have promised, planned and enacted reforms - however tepid some of them may have been - for decades. (The Trib does acknowledge in the 19th paragraph of today's story that "The city has a long history of steps toward reform that failed to satisfy those who want change." Instead of those steps having "failed to satisfy those who want change," though, which is an odd way to put it, the Trib might have just reported that the reforms by and large failed, period. It's not as if they only failed to those who are never satisfied.)

For example, however flawed, and however sadly this illustrates the horrific shape of policing in America, Chicago has one of the nation's most robust accountability systems going. The question, then, is why that isn't enough.

The answer seems to be public officials lacking the will to see reforms through (does anyone believe Mayors Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emanuel really wanted fundamental change in the department? Just look at the police chiefs they hired, each one disgraced after the other), do their jobs properly (police boards, IPRAs and COPAs are only as effective as those running them), and recalcitrant officers who prove daily that the problem isn't a few bad apples but the institutional mindset of rank-and-files who elect the likes of John Catanzara to represent them.

And let's not forget the media's performance on policing and reform, something the media leaves out of stories it does about policing and reform.

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C'mon, Kwame
"Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is leading an effort to give state attorneys general authority to investigate police departments that have shown a pattern of abuse as the nation is torn apart by the killing of a black man in Minneapolis at the hands of a police officer," Politico Illinois Playbook reports as a "scoop," because it feels the need to inflate non-scoops into SCOOPS and non-firsts into FIRSTS and rudimentary PR statements into TOLD PLAYBOOKs as part of its disingenuous marketing efforts to make readers think they have an inside track on the real skinny.

"George Floyd's death 'shocked' the nation, but this is just one of many in a long line of African Americans who have lost their lives to the use of excessive force by police, Raoul told Playbook."

Playbook puts "shocked" in quotes because it's something someone said. Well, actually it's something hundreds of millions of people have literally said, but this is how the media manufactures news.

Also, you don't need to attribute the fact that "many in a long line of African Americans who have lost their lives to the use of excessive force by police" to anyone because it's a fact, and thereby stands alone. But part of Politico's Playbook strategy is to give a platform to officials who hardly need one to create access.

Meanwhile, Politico Illinois Playbook continues . . .

Raoul and New York Attorney General Tish James are leading a coalition of 15 attorneys general urging Congress in a letter today to expand federal law to give AGs clear statutory authority to investigate patterns or practices of unconstitutional policing.

A little history: Congress gave similar authority to the DOJ in 1994, prompted by the 1991 Rodney King beating by Los Angeles police officers. That authority is part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, which Raoul and the other AGs want to expand.

Their letter to Congress comes as Attorney General William Barr and his Justice Department has taken heat for not initiating a "pattern-or-practice" investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department in wake of George Floyd's death. Such a probe could lead to a consent decree and reforms. Between 1994 to 2017, there were 69 investigations into police departments resulting in 40 consent decrees, according to Raoul. Under the Trump administration, there have been no investigations, and DOJ officials have indicated that states should handle such probes. Raoul agrees, saying, "Even if a more friendly administration were to come along, the reality is federal law enforcement doesn't have the bandwidth to do it all."

Wait, is it true that Raoul agrees with the Trump administration that DOJ shouldn't do "pattern-or-practice" investigations? That is news, and should be reported as such, including questioning Raoul on the matter - particularly the notion that DOJ doesn't have the "bandwidth" to do such investigations. First, there's simply no evidence that's true. DOJ has had the bandwidth to do 60 such investigations since 1994 resulting in 40 federal consent decrees - according to Raoul but again a fact that can stand alone. Second, state AG offices have the bandwidth? Hardly. Illinois's AG office doesn't even have the bandwidth to operate a public access office.

Besides that, the heavier and steadier hand of federal enforcement of consent decrees is preferable to the vagaries and relative weaknesses of state enforcement.

"It's no surprise Raoul is leading the way on this effort. It's a plan he had been working on before George Floyd's death last week."

Really? Assignment Desk, activate.

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Here's the press release from Raoul's office, which says the move is in fact to step into the void left by Trump's DOJ - as does he and his fellow AGs' letter to Congress.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

5 Things An Angry Old White Man Wants To Say
"I will give this country one more chance with the clear understanding that I might just walk out the door and never return," our very own David Rutter writes. He's pissed.

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Global Premature Ejaculation Market Exploding Quickly
Expected to grow from $2.3 million in 2018 to $4.3 million by the end of 2025.

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ChicagoReddit

Graffiti Artists Bomb Neighborhood Viaducts with Colorful Designs; City Paints Them Over from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

LIVE CHICAGO BLUES! The Recovered WXRT Radio Tapes.

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TweetWood
A sample of the delight and disgust you can find @BeachwoodReport.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: Feel free.



Permalink

Posted on June 4, 2020


MUSIC - Muddy Waters Museum Has Mojo.
TV - WGN Now Trump TV.
POLITICS - President Trump Has 3,400 Conflicts Of Interest.
SPORTS - The Big Ten's Blood Money.

BOOKS - Searching For The World's Largest Owl.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - New Mop Shaped Like Taco.


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