Even the New York Times is supporting the growing calls for the resignation of Chicago’s mayor and county prosecutor, following the year-long cover-up of the videotape which shows the unjustified shooting of a wounded black youth in October 2014.
The Times‘ editors choose to publish an op-ed by a Chicago law professor who slammed Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez for conducting a “cover up” to hide the criminal evidence until after the February and April primaries and elections.
“Rather than hold hearings, investigate and perhaps prosecute its leaders, the city of Chicago needs to restore trust. These officials no longer have the public’s confidence. They should resign,” declared Bernard E. Harcourt, who was a law prof at the University of Chicago until 2014 and is now at Columbia University.
This call is echoed by local activists, too. Black Lives Matter activists have been calling for both Emanuel and Alvarez to resign in the face of their multiple failures. Activists have also called for the resignation of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, but on Tuesday morning Emanuel tried to pass the blame downwards by firing his top cop.
The Mayor also announced the formation of a new commission to begin making policy changes to the CPD. The committee will be headed by former Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, another Democrat.
Little of this has satisfied activits, who are now embarking on a seventh day of protests of the McDonald shooting.
“There’s been a cover-up in Chicago,” Harcourt wrote. “The city’s leaders have now brought charges against a police officer, Jason Van Dyke, for the first-degree murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. But for more than a year, Chicago officials delayed the criminal process, and might well have postponed prosecution indefinitely, had it not been for a state court forcing their hand.”
The op-ed charges that city officials “prevented the public from viewing crucial incriminating evidence” consisting of up to five police cruiser dashcam videos of the shooting and goes on to claim that Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez certainly must have had enough proof to hand down her indictment of CPD officer Jason Van Dyke long before she finally did.
The piece then speculates on why it took a full year for officials to finally indict the officer, and the reason the Times pegs for the long delay is Emanuel’s re-election campaign.
As Breitbart noted on November 24, the October of 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald came only six months before Mayor Emanuel’s re-election in April of 2015.
A re-election campaign dogged by the the shocking dsashcam video of the shooting of a 17-year-old African American male would have made for terrible optics. This, the Times speculates, is why the city fought the release of the video and why State’s Attorney Alvarez delayed any action on the case for a year.
As Emanuel’s election day neared, it became clear that he was not cruising to an easy victory. He was forced into a runoff election for the first time in the city’s history, and the release of the video would have put his win in jeopardy.
“The video of a police shooting like this in Chicago could have buried Mr. Emanuel’s chances for re-election,” Harcourt claims.
Only after Emanuel was safely re-elected did the city finally start moving on the case.
One week after he was re-elected, the city council approved, without much debate, a payment of $5 million to the dead teen’s absentee mother in what many claimed was hush money.
Laquan McDonald had been taken from his mother when he was a child and was officially a ward of the state who was being brought up in the home of an uncle. Yet the city rushed through a $5 million payout to the very mother whom the state deemed unfit. And even in this settlement, the city was sure to put in a clause assuring that the dashcam video was to remain out of the public eye.
It wasn’t until a reporter filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the video and later took the city to court to force its release that the video became public. “City leaders did everything in their power to keep the homicide from the public as long as possible,” Harcourt wrote. “Indeed, Mr. Van Dyke was indicted only after the forced release of the videos.”
Beginning its summation, the Times says, “These actions have impeded the criminal justice system and, in the process, Chicago’s leaders allowed a first-degree murder suspect, now incarcerated pending bail, to remain free for over a year on the city’s payroll.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org