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The [Tuesday] Papers

"With a trial just minutes away, the Emanuel administration announced a $2 million settlement in a lawsuit brought by two Chicago police officers who alleged they were blackballed by the department for blowing the whistle on corruption, keeping the mayor from having to testify about the code of silence," the Tribune reports.

"The explosive civil rights lawsuit filed by Officers Shannon Spalding and Daniel Echeverria against the city and top department brass had threatened to expose an ugly side to the police code of silence that allegedly put at risk the lives of cops willing to uncover corruption within their ranks.

"The city's top attorney, Corporation Counsel Steven Patton, said the decision to settle the case had nothing to do with the fact that the judge had ordered Mayor Rahm Emanuel to testify about what he knew about the code of silence in light of his acknowledgment of its existence in a highly publicized speech to the City Council days after the court-ordered release of the video of the Laquan McDonald shooting."

Maybe, maybe not, but it is undeniable that Patton had no interest in seeing his patron on the stand.

Eleven days ago:

"In an unprecedented move, city attorneys on Friday offered to admit to a federal jury that a code of silence exists in the Chicago Police Department if it meant Mayor Rahm Emanuel would not have to testify about it at the upcoming trial involving two whistleblower cops."

That's what this was all about - Rahm opened his big yap and a legally actionable statement fell out. Ironically, Rahm was actually telling the truth this time, but the city had no interest in making good on its transparency promises by letting the plaintiffs' tale be told in court. They get a settlement and we get silence.

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"Patton told reporters the settlement was hammered out over the weekend after attorneys for the officers approached them with a settlement offer that was 'substantially lower' than what they had previously demanded. The payout, which needs to be approved by the City Council, includes about $1 million in legal fees, so each officer would wind up splitting about $500,000, he said."

Something told the plaintiffs the city would be amenable to such a deal.

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"[Officers] Spalding and Echeverria had just arrived at the courthouse when they got the news. Both said the last-minute settlement came as a surprise to them."

Meaning they weren't told of it before then or that they were surprised the city agreed to terms?

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"Moments later, the two held hands as their lawyer announced the $2 million deal to a horde of reporters in the courthouse lobby.

"Spalding wiped tears from her eyes as she explained how she hoped the publicity surrounding their story would help other police officers make the decision to come forward."

Going to trial would have served that goal much better than settling, but hey, money is the ultimate code of silence.

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Speaking at the City Club today:

That sounds good, but it isn't up to Johnson to impose shit - at least the way the disciplinary process is currently structured. All he can do is accept or reject the recommendations sent to him by the Independent Police Review Authority or the Internal Affairs Division. Then, if the recommendation is for termination or a suspension of at least 30 days, the police chief sends it along to the Police Board, which makes the ultimate decision. Now, theoretically, Johnson could reject a disciplinary recommendation and ask for harsher penalties, but I'm not sure if that's ever happened in the history of the CPD, and I certainly wouldn't expect it to happen under a police chief who has said he's never seen misconduct in his 27 years on the force. If he had been the chief for all 27 of those years, he wouldn't have imposed severe penalties yet!

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"[L]awyers for the two officers say Internal Affairs Chief Juan Rivera blew their cover," the Sun-Times reports.

"Spalding and Echeverria were branded 'rat motherfuckers' and told that their bosses didn't want them in their units. They were allegedly told their careers were over. Their actions allegedly made the brass so angry that Spalding was warned to 'wear her vest' so she wouldn't be shot in the parking lot for crossing the thin blue line."

And from the Tribune last month:

[Spalding and Echeverria] alleged Cmdr. James O'Grady, who headed the department's narcotics division, was infuriated when he learned they had ratted out their fellow officers and refused to allow them to return to the unit when their work with the FBI was complete.

O'Grady has denied the allegations. In a court filing, his lawyers said he had opposed the officers' return to narcotics because Spalding was difficult to work with and supervise.

In June 2012, the officers met at police headquarters with then-Cmdr. Joseph Salemme and several other supervisors to discuss their removal from the U.S. Marshals task force team to a new nighttime assignment on the other side of the city. During the meeting, Salemme told them they had "brought this baggage" on themselves, the lawsuit alleged.

"If you go against sworn personnel, you know this will happen," Salemme told them, according to the suit.

Back to today's Sun-Times:

"[L]awyers also wanted to bring up at trial the botched investigation into the 2004 death of David Koschman. Cmdr. Joseph Salemme, a defendant in the lawsuit, played a role in the Koschman case. Koschman died after he was punched by former Mayor Richard M. Daley's nephew, Richard J. 'R.J.' Vanecko."

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I didn't find anything in the archives to indicate whether any of the defendants were investigated by IPRA for any of the allegations in this case - it's possible they weren't if no one filed a complaint with the agency. But as I understand it, IPRA must review all cases involving settlements, so they will be looked at now.

"Patton said the city wants to encourage such whistleblowing, not discourage it - and, he said, 'there was no dispute that the employment actions that they complained about actually occurred' - though, he noted, all the alleged retaliation all took place before Emanuel took office."

Back at the law department, they're slapping Patton on the back for nudging this talking point into publication, implying to the public that it's been a new day under Rahm Emanuel, as if.

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It wasn't about you for four years, but somehow you made it about you in the end.

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Naperville vs. Rickettsville
"Wrigley Field still has a nostalgic 'it' factor, but sheesh, I'm waiting for the troughs to have a sponsor," writes our very own Marty Gangler in this week's gem-filled Cub Factor.

The Coolest (Or Ugliest) Chicago Sports TV Tray
Great art or a piece of crap? Made by child or adult? This nerdy dad can't decide!

Here Are The Ugly Facts
Don "D.B." Cooper is MIA, our very own Roger Wallenstein writes in this week's White Sox Report.

Too Much Tallywacker
Steve Harvey Doesn't Want To Host Family Feud Anymore.

SportsMondayTuesday: Respecting The Streak
Joe Maddon wearing lingerie right now.

Why We React Differently To Terror Attacks . . .
. . . Depending On Where They Happen.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: RealBadRealFast, El Segundo, Julieta Venegas, The Flips, Mudcrutch, Lever, Sweet Cobra, Oops, The 1975, Sebastian Bach, Mod Sun, Cobalt & the Hired Guns, Hatsune Miku, Chelsea Wolfe, and A Dead Forest Index.

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BeachBook

Check Out This Nuts 1977 Channel 5 Promo.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: The harp unstrung.



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Posted on May 31, 2016


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Slow TV Chicago.
POLITICS - Dangerous, Low-Wage Industries Depend On Immigrants, Refugees.
SPORTS - Beachwood Sports Radio: Dear Cubs, Make It Stop.

BOOKS - Meet Chicago's American Writers Museum.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Beachwood Photo Booth: Mail Call.


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