The [Wednesday] Papers
"Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday declined to say whether he agreed with Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy's assertion that an off-duty detective should not have faced criminal charges in the 2012 fatal shooting of a woman," the Tribune reports.
"The mayor also did not say whether he backed McCarthy's comment that the victim 'also happened' to be hit by Detective Dante Servin's gunfire as the off-duty cop 'hit the individual who he was aiming at.'"
Okay, this would be the Rekia Boyd case. Servin ostensibly fired five shots at Antonio Cross, who was either two feet away (according to the defense) or 40 feet away (according to prosecutors and, presumably, the police), and struck Cross in the hand with one, missed with three, and struck Boyd in the back of the head either 30 or 40 feet away.
"Emanuel faced the questions a day after McCarthy discussed the Servin case. Prosecutors charged Servin with involuntary manslaughter, alleging the officer acted recklessly when he fired five shots over his shoulder from inside his Mercedes in the direction of four people who had their backs to him in a dark West Side alley in March 2012."
I'm not sure whether Servin allegedly shot over his shoulder or across his body as he sat in his car; also, I'm not sure Cross had his back to him. But let's go on.
"Last week, a judge ruled the manslaughter charge did not apply because prosecutors failed to prove Servin acted recklessly since he pointed a gun at an intended victim and fired. The only proper charge, the judge ruled, would have been murder.
"Asked Monday about the judge's ruling based on a legal technicality, McCarthy said the officer never should have been charged in the first place, but declined to say why."
I think we can presume McCarthy believes Servin was acting in self-defense. It would be interesting to ask McCarthy if he believes, as Servin still does, that Cross had a gun, even though police were unable to find a shred of evidence that a gun existed. It would also be interesting to ask McCarthy how police are trained to handle the situation Servin found himself in - from calling 911 to complain about a noisy congregation of kids to the argument in the alley to firing the shots from his car.
Or, more like, it would be interesting to hear McCarthy answer those questions. In fact, it would be more than interesting; it's McCarthy's duty to answer.
Not doing so makes his "listening tour" even more of a mockery than it already is; a listening tour is also about responding to the public's concerns, not just listening to their questions and walking away as if the mission has been accomplished.
"It's something that should not have happened. Absolutely, positively not," McCarthy said Monday.
If it's something that absolutely, positively should not have happened, and the result was a dead woman, it's hard to see how charges should not have been filed.
Square that circle, Mac.
McCarthy also said prosecutors' decision to charge Servin created a "safety hazard," arguing that "every single officer who's out there now might be in a position where they hesitate, and as a result, they could lose their lives."
To a cell phone?
I'd say the safety hazard is on us citizens; Servin was the first Chicago cop charged in a killing in 20 years and he walked. I don't know why any police officer around here would feel the need to hesitate.
"On Tuesday, Emanuel was asked if he agreed with McCarthy's insistence that Servin should never have been charged and whether he believed his top cop's comments about the officer hitting his target were appropriate given the fact that an innocent woman died. The mayor did not directly answer the question, citing an ongoing Independent Police Review Authority evaluation of the case.
"Right now, you know that situation is being looked at by IPRA," Emanuel said. "So, I'm not going to comment on that."
That would be fair if Rahm's point was to wait for the facts. But the shooting happened in 2012 and it's not likely that IPRA is going to dig up new information missed by the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in their zeal to protect one of their own. If exculpatory evidence existed, they'd be the first to have found it.
Still, a good question then would be if the mayor thought it was appropriate that McCarthy spoke before the IPRA review was finished.
"Instead, the mayor chose to focus on McCarthy's recently launched 'listening tour.' The mayor said the idea is for McCarthy and his top district commanders to strengthen their ties in the community by talking with 'religious leaders and community leaders' in their neighborhoods."
So a dog-and-pony show with selected "leaders" already in Rahm's camp.
"Emanuel, though, bristled when asked why such an effort was necessary when McCarthy had been running the department for the last four years.
"The question is not a fair question," Emanuel responded. "It's building on the introduction, four years ago, of community policing."
How is that not a fair question? It's taken McCarthy four years to listen!
Plus: Community policing was not introduced just four years ago. Rahm always thinks everything began and ends with him. It's like no one knew there were even coal plants in the city before Rahm took office!
And: What Rahm is doing isn't community policing. Not even close.
"Chicago Police Department leaders long have engaged in concepts they've described as community policing, far pre-dating the Emanuel administration. The department's Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy, or CAPS, community policing program started in 1992."
Italics mine, because this is correct: Chicago has never really engaged in community policing.
"The discussion on Chicago's police practices comes as Baltimore endured violent riots this week after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who died in police custody there. A reporter asked Emanuel on Tuesday whether he had watched the coverage of the Baltimore police protests and if he worried about something similar happening in Chicago.
"Of course, I watch. If the TV's on, you watch it," Emanuel responded. "This listening tour, while you do kind of watch what's happening in Baltimore, is an outgrowth of things we've been doing step-by-step methodically over the last four years and going forward. I'll be honest. There are good days at this and bad days."
OK. But the question is: What do you think of it? Do your sympathies lie in any particular direction? Do you fear it could happen here (and if you don't, you're an idiot)? Have you discussed Baltimore with McCarthy? Has the city taken any precautions or reviewed its plans for protests and riots?
It would be nice to be able to have a real discussion with the mayor. He just doesn't seem to have the humanity to make that possible, though.
The [Rekia Boyd] Papers:
* Part 1: The Judge Did What?
* Part 2: Anita Alvarez Did What? Plus: Servin's Lawyer Said What?
* Part 3: Anita Alvarez Is Awful.
* The Beachwood Radio Hour #54: Reading The Rekia Boyd Case.
Song Of The Moment
Wolf & Geraldo Do Baltimore
Boeing's Secret E-Mails
Fantasy Fix: Slow Starters
Biden Was Right
HoJo's Last Stand
The Beachwood Tip Line: Riotous.
Posted on April 29, 2015
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