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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

An Interview With Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel

Paris Schutz of Chicago Tonight sits down with Mayor Rahm Emanuel as the crisis of police accountability has expanded into a formal probe by the Department of Justice after the murder of Laquan McDonald and chronic misconduct, lies and brutality.

On discrepancies between official reports and what the video shows
PS: When did you first learn that there were discrepancies between the initial reports from officers on the scene that night and the video?
MRE: When we get the information, that it’s public, that’s when I learned it like everybody else.
PS: So former superintendent McCarthy didn’t tell you that there might be a problem between the official reports and what the video shows?
MRE: No. That’s not what he briefed me about. Understand, when there’s any police shooting, I’m assured IPRA’s there, and the state’s attorney–so there’s inquiry and investigation. The first time the details around Laquan McDonald situation–what happened–and when I was briefed by Steve Patton, the Corporation Counsel for the city of Chicago, like everybody else, I was taken aback, horrified about what I heard. I wanted to be assured by Steve which was there were multiple investigations by multiple entities into it.
PS: At least five other officers that were on the scene backed up Van Dyke’s assertion that McDonald was the aggressor. Are those five officers still on the street?
MRE: The U.S. attorney’s office for the last 13 months has been investigating all aspects of this event, and this scene. That investigation’s going on. I would hope they would conclude that, because it would answer a lot of questions. Second, Sharon Fairley, my recent appointment to the IPRA board, has referred that case and the officers involved and their filings over to the inspector general.
PS: Isn’t it clear from the video that they made false statements?
MRE: That is exactly what the inspector general is going to look at.
PS: And if he finds that they did, will they be fired?
MRE: If they filed false reports, of course. That’s what recommendation will be given to the superintendent of the police department, by the inspector general … If that was to be what he would conclude, if you obviously lie and falsify a report, you’re fired.
On the culture of the police department
PS: A question from viewer Timothy Searl, who’s worried about the cover-up mentality of the police department. I’m going to ask you point-blank, is there a code of silence that exists among police officers?
MRE: The short answer is yes. It’s one of the subjects I’m going to address tomorrow to the City Council.
PS: There is a code of silence.
MRE: There’s no doubt what we have and it exists. What I refer to as a “culture.” You are asked to uphold the law, not act like you’re above the law. If you see something and say nothing, you’re adding to a culture. There’s professional standards.
The Department of Justice: We welcome it. We will cooperate with it. We need an outside third party to not only change the rules, but to implement the rules so it begins to change the culture. The police department, to earn the respect from the community, must show respect. Part of that respect, is to know that they are there to uphold the law, not to act like they’re above it.

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