Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Boss Rahm Must Go! (...but not so fast...)

Behold Boss Rahm.  The Rahm-Father.  Chicago's mayor, the Honorable Rahm Emanuel.  He managed to squeak into his second term as mayor in 2014, after defeating candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia in a run-off election.  For what it's worth, the restructuring of the mayoral race was designed to prevent such a thing from happening.  Chicago's mayors are selected by popular vote, in a non-partisan race.  If no candidate has 50% of the vote, then a run-off election decides the winner.  He was elected in 2011, with his primary positives being not Pharaoh Richard Daley and the former Chief of Staff for President Obama.

But enough history.

Right now, Boss Rahm is very vulnerable.  The shooting death of Laquan McDonald has revealed some horrifying information about the city of Chicago, the Chicago Police Department, and the stink goes all the way up to the 5th Floor of City Hall.  Long story short, Laquan was shot by the police.  The police spun a narrative saying that Laquan, while high on PCP, lunged at the police, forcing Officer Jason Van Dyke to open fire, shooting Laquan twice in the chest and killing him.  That was the prevailing narrative for over a year, and the narrative was carried through in press releases and comments from the head of the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.  But for a whistle-blower, some actual investigative journalists, the Freedom of Information Act, and a judge's court order, that would STILL be the prevailing narrative.

But thanks to these efforts, the truth came out.  The horrific video (which is available everywhere on the 'net) shows Laquan walking AWAY from the cops, with Van Dyke then opening fire twice.  And after Laquan's body hits the ground, Van Dyke empties his clip, shooting Laquan 14 more times.  14 more bullets enter into a dead teenager's body.  The video was so damning and so revealing that the city settled with the family for $5 million, even before the family had a chance to file a civil or wrongful-death suit.  And guess who fought to keep the video from being released?

You guessed it, Boss Rahm.

After the video was released, the city has seen protest after protest.  They were peaceful protests, and as a side note, I will never buy the Chicago Sun-Times for their coverage of the Black Friday protests.

Pictured:  Irresponsible journalism and something to line your cat's litter box.
Cook County District Attorney Anita Alvarez actually charged Officer Van Dyke with murder, but her record with prosecuting police and being on the side of the people isn't exactly stellar.  She is vulnerable, as well, as her former allies are turning on her and abandoning her.  But this isn't about her for now, although she has her own metric ton of questions that need to be answered.

Since the video has been released, lots of people are taking the hit.  Garry McCarthy was the first major figure to take a hit.  After meeting with the media, Garry assured himself that everything was fine.

McCarthy:  Rahm, did you hear that? Sounds like a bus...
Rahm:  No, didn't here a thing... now if you can just stand over THERE...

That was the sound of Boss Rahm throwing McCarthy under the bus.  But that was just the first in several dominoes to fall.  U.S. Attorney General has announced that the U.S. Justice Department will investigate the Chicago Police Department in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting.  And the aftermath has caused other rats to leave the sinking ship.  Among them are Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Constantine "Dean" Andrews, and Scott Ando, the head of the Independent Police Review Authority.  The latter is especially interesting, since the purpose of the Independent Police Review Authority was to independently investigate bad cops.  But the Blue Wall of Silence was so pervasive that one of its investigators was fired because he wouldn't cook the books to make police look good.

Which brings us back to the very vulnerable Boss Rahm.  He is trying to salvage his career by creating a "Task Force" to "strengthen the fabric of trust between the Chicago Police Department and the communities it protects.  But that is doing little to reduce the calls for Boss Rahm to be tossed from office.  There was a huge protest today (12/9) that spilled into the James R. Thompson Center, because City Hall was locked down.  The calls for Boss Rahm to step down are coming from all corners of the city.  But I think that Boss Rahm should not be given the luxury of resigning from office.  Voters have notoriously short memories, and if Boss Rahm is allowed to walk away, the outrage that is felt now will have dissipated by the time the next mayoral election rolls around.

In the wake of these shootings, investigations, and whatever else the Justice Department uncovers, Boss Rahm should stay in office.  He should stay in office and answer all of the questions he has to face.  He should have to answer questions about what he knew about the Laquan McDonald shooting, and when he knew it.  He should answer questions about why, under his watch, an Independent Police Review Authority inspector was fired for doing exactly what his job called for him to do.  Every remaining moment of Boss Rahm's mayoral career should be moments holding him accountable for everything that happened under his watch.  Every Chicago tax payer's dollar that was used to settle cases involving terrible police officers.  Every officer in the McDonald shooting that signed off on the original, false narrative that remains on the job.  Every school privatization horror story involving terrible food.  Every dollar of funds used in Barbara Byrd-Bennett's schemes (and what did he know about HER, and when did he know THAT)?

Edited to add:

In my haste, I forgot about a particular incident where Boss Rahm went into full Corleone mode.  He basically said to youth leaders, Black clergy, and members of the City Council Black Caucus that "it would be a shame if there were no jobs funneled into your community because of these protests."  THAT was Boss Rahm being the same man who sent his opposition a dead fish wrapped in a newspaper.

If we have the political and intestinal fortitude, Boss Rahm can either be forced out of office in disgrace or (my preferred choice) dragged into the next mayoral race as a lame duck, which would be a first for Chicago.  And up until that moment, the voters can actually put action behind the protests and show up at the polls in unprecedented amounts.  Boss Rahm can receive the public condemnation and repudiation from the public that he so richly deserves as he is unceremoniously cast from office.  

As for his replacement and the next mayor of Chicago?  I have an idea.

The Honorable Dr. Amara Enyia, Mayor Of Chicago
...I can dream, can't I?

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