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The [Wednesday] Papers

"A Cook County special grand jury has been disbanded without charging any additional Chicago police officers, including department higher-ups, for their handling of Laquan McDonald's fatal shooting by an officer," the Tribune reports.

At a hearing Tuesday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said the grand jury that convened to look into the controversial shooting has completed its investigation.

That means no other officers - including higher-ups who signed off on allegedly false reports of the shooting - will be indicted.

The only indictment brought by the special grand jury charged just lower-level cops - a detective and two patrol officers - stopping short of criminally charging department higher-ups in the alleged cover-up, even though several had been recommended for firing by the city inspector general's office for their actions.

Like many, I'm sure, I'm puzzled - to put it mildly. Though not totally surprised, sadly. What gives?


"The charges allege that the three officers, together with Van Dyke himself, lied to exaggerate the threat posed by 17-year-old McDonald, who had PCP in his system and had damaged a police car while armed with a knife. The video showed the white officer shooting McDonald as the black teen walked away from police. Van Dyke and other officers had alleged that McDonald lunged at him with the knife.

"March and Walsh left the Police Department after city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson recommended their firing following his investigation of the shooting. Gaffney remains with the department but was stripped of police powers and placed on paid desk duty."

Here comes the important part:

The city has declined to make Ferguson's report public, but thousands of pages of records of that probe obtained by the Chicago Tribune months ago raise questions about police Superintendent Eddie Johnson's response to the inspector general's findings against top command officers.

Similarly, interim police chief John Escalante, whom Rahm Emanuel appointed to replace the scapegoated (but noxious) Garry McCarthy, signed off on police reports that clearly contradicted the infamous video of McDonald's killing that Escalante had seen. His punishment? A cushy landing at Northeastern Illinois University.

So, to summarize: In the wake of a scandal that threatened Emanuel's political career, he hired two police chiefs implicated in that very scandal and called it reform.


"The documents [obtained by the Tribune revealed that Ferguson recommended firing Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy and Deputy Chief David McNaughton in addition to numerous lower-ranking officers.

Roy, who had supervised the department's investigation into McDonald's shooting, drew withering criticism from Ferguson's office. The inspector general placed blame for the detectives' allegedly false narratives on Roy, but Roy told investigators that responsibility for the reports fell largely to his subordinates.

In recommending that McNaughton be fired, the inspector general alleged that he had approved false police reports submitted by Van Dyke, Walsh and a third officer and revised a police news release to falsely state that McDonald was shot after he "continued to approach" the officers.

But Johnson never acted on the recommendations. Instead, Roy quietly stepped down as he neared the mandatory age for retirement. McNaughton, the highest-ranking officer at the scene of McDonald's shooting, also has since retired.

The records of Ferguson's investigation also detailed a meeting at police headquarters among the top brass about 10 days after the McDonald shooting. Among those at the meeting was Johnson, then a deputy chief who was later promoted to superintendent after then-Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired days after the video's release.

Lt. Osvaldo Valdez, who attended the meeting, later told the inspector general's office that "everyone agreed that Officer Van Dyke used the force necessary to eliminate the threat."

Everyone in that room who agreed to that should at least be fired, if not prosecuted, no?


"In his interviews with the inspector general's office, March said that police brass shifted its stance on the shooting after the video was released and that no one had 'voiced any reservations or concerns' to him at the time of his investigation.

"I was informed the entire command staff concurred with the findings and conclusions of my investigation," he told investigators.

The entire command staff.


I sure wish we knew more about what went on inside that grand jury. I sure hope reporters are trying to find out.


Culture change starts at the top. Hiring Eddie Johnson, as I wrote at the time, (see the item Top Kop) was not a call for culture change.


At first I thought this was a political gift for Rahm, but then I realized that instead the decision to close the proceedings without further indictments may only serve to inflame his opposition. The only problem: You can't beat someone with no one. I don't see a credible opponent at this time, and that's one of the saddest reflections of this city that I can think of.


* The [Laquan McDonald] Papers.

* Deconstructing Rahm's Mea Culpa.

"Misleading at best."

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #69A: The Media & Laquan McDonald.

"The reporting is still under review, but the pundits have already been convicted."

* The Beachwood Radio Hour #70: What The Laquan McDonald E-Mails Really Show.

"First and foremost, the e-mails show how Rahm's media shop manipulates outwitted reporters. Also: How City Hall spun settlement negotiations over the release of the infamous video, and allegations of witness coercion."

* The DOJ and Police Culture Change: Can it Happen in Chicago - Now?

"Here are some ideas for citizens, journalists and cops."

* And, of course, you can do a search for "Laquan McDonald" in ye olde Beachwood search bar over there on the right rail for our daily coverage of his murder and the aftermath.


Chicago & The Chocolate Factory
"No one was hurt after a rooftop fire at Blommer's Chocolate Company, the factory behind most of Chicago's chocolate brands - and the reason parts of the city are filled with that tempting, sweet smell," Eater Chicago notes.

"Firefighter crews battled a rooftop fire for about 45 minutes, responding just before 2 p.m. Tuesday on the 400 block of North Jefferson Street. It's he second fire this month at the factory, which was evacuated on November 3. No one was hurt then, either."


From the Beachwood vault:



Gunther's Goggles
At the Chicago History Museum. Soundtrack by Styx.



Evangelicals, Who Backed Trump To The Hilt, Are The Worst.


Did Scrabble Champion Cheat?


McDonald's Is A Big Fat McLiar.


A sampling.


Party line vote.


Favorite reply/comment: "Why not just stick with Jewy McJew?"


Jonathan Chait continues to be employed.






The Beachwood Tronc Line: Reverse discrimination.


Posted on November 15, 2017

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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