Carol Marin: Feds drag out investigation while a city bleeds

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The feds.

I’m fed up with them.

They don’t know how to hurry when a city is bleeding.

And they don’t know how to get out of the way either, so sure that they are a superior force in a mediocre world of law enforcement.

Their silence and distance from the hard and horrible realities of life in the poorest parts of this city cries out.


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Yes, it’s true that Mayor Rahm Emanuel failed Laquan McDonald when his law department and police department kept the true facts of the 17-year-old’s police execution under wraps until after his April runoff election victory. And then quickly paid out $5 million.

Police Supt. Garry McCarthy also failed Laquan McDonald by issuing a press release just hours after the shooting falsely claiming it was McDonald who moved toward the officer and not the other way around.  And it’s McCarthy who expresses insufficient outrage about video and audio not being recorded in many police vehicles. And it’s McCarthy in press conferences who stands with his new chief of detectives, Dean Andrews, whom he promoted even though Andrews is still under investigation by the city’s inspector general for a police cover up (Koschman) benefitting a clout-heavy family (Daley).

And then there is State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, who failed Laquan McDonald by taking 13 months to charge Officer Jason Van Dyke with murder. Perhaps Alvarez and her re-election team envisioned a photo op of her standing in a phalanx of feds including Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon as they announced civil rights charges in this case.

If so, she should have known.  That the feds never hurry, not even when a city is bleeding.

Alvarez, Emanuel and McCarthy finally, however, figured it out. Figured out that they couldn’t keep hiding behind the U.S. Department of Justice, not even when their former-community-organizer-friend, Barack Obama, is DOJ’s boss.

The president doesn’t hurry.

Not even when his city is bleeding.

Not until Cook County Circuit Court Judge Franklin Valderrama forced the city to release video of the shooting did Team Emanuel-McCarthy-Alvarez finally get busy.

The mayor declared Officer Van Dyke’s conduct “hideous.”

Alvarez charged him with murder.

And Emanuel and McCarthy called a press conference and, after a prayer, used their soft, inside-voices, urging peaceful protest and calm. But, to the amazement of everyone, the mayor said he had not yet viewed the video.

What does that tell us?

That none of these leaders ever wanted to lead on this one.  Not when the cops could hand the McDonald case over to the Independent Police Review Authority (which investigates police shootings and is about as independent as the City Council). Then IPRA, in consultation with the state’s attorney, could hand the case over to U.S. Attorney Fardon and, in all likelihood, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.

“The federal investigation of the shooting is active and ongoing,” the U.S. Attorney’s office assured us this week.

Just remember.

The feds never hurry.

And Chicago is bleeding.


Follow Carol Marin on Twitter: @CarolMarin

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