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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.


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SHOW NOTES

* Strawberry Rock Show.

1:05: Eleventh Dream Day at the Empty Bottle.

* The Smithereens is the band I was trying to think of.

2:49: Rahm's Massive Dump.

* See the e-mails for yourself.

* The final version of that Sun-Times story: Mayor's Office, IPRA Discussed Laquan McDonald Case, E-Mails Show.

"The e-mails raise new questions about the scope of police misconduct in the city and whether the Independent Police Review Authority is truly walled off to investigate police-involved shootings without outside interference."

Scott Ando, the former head of IPRA who was fired by Emanuel in December, concurred that the mayor's office never interfered in the agency's investigations.

But Ando said City Hall kept a tight grip on IPRA's interactions with the media. "We were generally asked to clear every messaging or release to the press," he said. "I really think if I'd been allowed to be more responsive to the questions that were posed, it would have cleared the air a lot sooner."

* AP: Newly Released E-Mails Reveal Coordination After Teen's Death.

* The Hill: Report: E-Mails Show Chicago Coordination After Shooting.

"Newly released e-mails show that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, police and the group responsible for investigating police shootings in the city coordinated their response after the death of Laquan McDonald in October 2014, the Associated Press reported Friday."

* Rahm Emanuel May Have Known More About The Laquan McDonald Video Than He Let On.

The Chicago mayor had repeatedly denied having seen the video of the 17-year-old McDonald being shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer. In early December he said that he didn't watch the video so he wouldn't have to answer questions about it: "If I watched it, reporters like you would say, 'If you get to see, how come we don't get to?'"

But a damning report from The Daily Beast suggests that even if Emanuel didn't see the video, he was aware of its contents.

Um, we knew that.

* Anita Alvarez to Carol Felsenthal (emphasis mine):

The plan was that the U.S. attorney would be looking at any possible federal charges. I would be looking at possible state charges. There's been a tremendous amount of work that has been done on this case. Some of the problems [have been caused] because I'm not at liberty to discuss them because the federal investigation is ongoing. Our goal was to be able to stand up there together and announce what we both were going to do. We knew, I knew, what I was going to do. When we found out that the video was being released, I said, "I have to come out with my charges first," even though that wasn't what we had hoped [to do].

* Carol Marin: Feds Drag Out Investigation While A City Bleeds.

The feds. They don't know how to hurry when a city is bleeding.

Really? The problem here was how long it took Alvarez to charge Van Dyke, not how long it's taking the feds to investigate civil rights violations and a cover-up.

25:10: Running at the Empty Bottle.

26:02: The Real Revelations.

It's like reading rough draft of a West Wing script, which is the Washington operating style Rahm has brought to Chicago City Hall, complete with self-important little twerps acting like they own the place.

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That means not telling the media. This is when Rahm dropped out of sight for several days. They did post on social media, though, warm photos of Rahm visiting citizens.

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At that particular moment, though, Van Dyke was only in jail because a judge ordered the city to release the videotape, spurring Anita Alvarez to finally lay charges on the officer. Nice attempt at spin, though. Later, of course, Rahm acknowledged a code of silence.

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That would be the transcript of Patton's testimony before the city council about the McDonald settlement - public information which shouldn't need his permission to be "released."

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Like, should we have him cry?

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This is back to his secret tour of the city when he disappeared from public view for a few days.

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LM = Laquan McDonald.

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That aide was David Spielfogel, also known (sort of) as Mini-Rahm.

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And if it doesn't 'line up' well?

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36:55: Nikki Bluhm and the Gramblers at the Vic.

38:22: About Burying The Video: Conflicting Stories.

* City officials in e-mails reiterated Rahm's repeated statements that the video would be released after the investigation was over.

* The family's wish for the video to not be released, commonly referenced, was backed up by a statement they issued after the judge's ruling, stating that while they "prefer that the video not be released, we understand that a court has ordered otherwise."

* But the documents show a different story; the family's lawyers were agreeable to the video remaining sealed until the investigation was concluded, but not until the case(s) were concluded:

"The provision as drafted, that we maintain the confidentiality of the materials - principally the dash cam-video - until the criminal charges are concluded, which could be in effect for years, is entirely unreasonable."

43:44: Witness Coercion.

* From USA Today:

In a separate March 6 memo to Platt, Neslund wrote that another witness who had been 'appalled' by what she had seen was taken by officers to a police station "where she was held against her will and intensively questioned for over six hours."

"During the questioning, detectives repeatedly attempted to get her to change her statement, telling her that her story 'did not match the video,' which they refused to show her," Neslund wrote. "Finally, (she) was released at approximately 4:00 a.m., after she demanded a lawyer."

46:30: IPRA's PR.

49:30: Where The City's Media Operation Went Wrong.

51:40: What Rahm Really Did Wrong.

* Should have acted with outrage immediately and faced the issue head-on. In other words, been human. He might have been rewarded for it.

56:09: Welcome Aboard, Lamestreamers!

* Chicagoland writer, co-producer and narrator Mark Konkol: Since When Does Rahm Emanuel Need A Task Force To Make Tough Decisions?

* Neil Steinberg: Rahm Kicks Can Again. But at least he's not a tinpot South American bureaucrat!

* Hurricane Kristen McQueary: The Rahm We Knew All Along.

58:35: Sam Prekop and Jim Elkington at the Empty Bottle.

* From the Tribune's New E-Mails Show Emanuel City Hall Scramble On Laquan McDonald Shooting:

As Emanuel struggled with the fallout from the video, he fired police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. But after that was announced, the former top cop was still able to track developments through his city e-mail account.

When the Emanuel administration sent out a statement Dec. 6 saying that CPD had no role in the McDonald investigation because it had referred the case to the police review board and federal authorities, McCarthy mocked it in an e-mail to a few department employees and Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins.

"Good time to put this out!" McCarthy e-mailed six days after his firing. "Oh, wait. It's a week too late."

Trib bonus - I didn't see this reported anywhere else, though that doesn't mean it wasn't:

Once news broke that the Department of Justice would launch an investigation, Emanuel's staff started reaching out to the mayor's old associates from his time as top adviser in President Bill Clinton's administration, records show.

The mayor's office enlisted the help of former Clinton press secretaries Joe Lockhart and Jake Siewert, as well as Joel Johnson, who was a Clinton senior adviser for policy and communications. Emanuel aides prepared a list of talking points for the trio and created a list of "surrogates" who could advocate for Emanuel in the media.

"Regarding the list of surrogates that we've compiled internally, I think the goal is to send it to Jake/Joe/Joel in the next few hours to get their feedback and for them to reach out to the talking heads to organize a call," mayoral press aide Stephen Spector wrote Dec. 6.

Two hours later, Spector sent an e-mail titled "Following-up from Chicago" to the three former Clinton aides. Much of the e-mail is redacted, but it suggests the trio were helping to shape the mayor's message as national criticism mounted.

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STOPPAGE: :26

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For archives and other Beachwood shows, see The Beachwood Radio Network.

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Comments welcome.



Permalink

Posted on January 12, 2016


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - An Odd Call From Bermuda.
SPORTS - All Is Not Forgiven, Bears.

BOOKS - Turning Points Of The Civil War.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Baxter's IV Bag Shortages.


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