To understand just how deeply ingrained Chicago’s blue code of silence may be, consider three lost hours on Dec. 26, 2015.
That was the day 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier and his neighbor, Bettie Jones, were shot and killed by a Chicago Police officer.
The shooting could not have come at a more explosive time for the Chicago Police Department and City Hall. Protesters already were filling the streets in outrage over the police shooting of Laquan McDonald. Supt. Garry McCarthy had been forced to resign three weeks early. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was fighting for his political life.
Every action by the police was being watched under a bright spotlight.
And yet, according to a Sun-Times report, the police failed to report to the Cook County medical examiner’s office for three full hours that day that LeGrier and Jones had been shot by an officer. By the time the office was informed, it was too late for an investigator to go to the scene of the killings and do a proper independent investigation, which would be standard practice.
Instead, the medical examiner’s office relied solely on one police officer’s account of what happened, an account later contradicted by other witnesses. We can only hope that is not standard practice.
The U.S. Justice Department has swept into town to conduct a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department, and it cannot probe too wide, dig too deep or move too fast.
A police spokesman says the CPD’s failure to notify the medical examiner for three hours was simply “some sort of miscommunication,” and we’d like to believe that. But the miscommunication keeps on coming, always shaded in blue.
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