Two themes have converged to make Laquan McDonald’s apparent murder by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke a cloudy discussion — race and relegating Van Dyke’s behavior to the act of one “bad apple” out of a crop of good cops.
I’m probably one of the last dudes you would call colorblind to the topic of being black and targeted by the police.
But my personal experience is not important for making today’s point: the city of Chicago’s Police Department has a human rights abuse problem which extends beyond one “bad apple.”
Let’s remove names and skin colors from this discussion and begin by stating the obvious: a 17-year old boy was murdered on the evening of October 20th, 2014 by a Chicago police officer — considered to be a “bad apple” by many of you.
17 years old! The boy could have been your cousin. Or your nephew. Or your neighbor.
He will never grow up to become a man. This “bad apple” made sure of that.
While the boy walked away from Chicago police officers that night, the “bad apple” cop shot the boy repeatedly for 15 seconds.
Stop reading for a moment and count to 15 seconds.
That’s how long this “bad apple” pumped bullets into a 17 year old boy’s body.
But we have additional “bad apples” at work in this case.
A number of other “bad apples” in the police department published an official version of events which turned out to be a big lie.
Contrary to the other “bad apples’‘” official statement, the boy never lunged at police officers with his knife that night — he was walking away from the officers before being shot and killed.
But many of us didn’t know about the lie told by the “bad apple” spokespersons until a year later.
Why did it take so long? Because additional “bad apples” in City Hall, the prosecutor’s office and the police department repeatedly blocked the release of potentially incriminating police car dashcam video footage which contradicts the official version of why this ‘bad apple’ cop killed the boy.
A few “bad apples” from the police department also lied and stated that the boy was shot in the chest twice. A court-sanctioned release of the autopsy report pointed out the lie when it showed that the boy died from 16 gunshot wounds.
Other “bad apples” from the Chicago Police Department tasked with investigating the shooting visited a fast food restaurant and deleted incriminating video footage from the eatery’s security cameras.
That’s correct — an entirely different set of “bad apples” were directly involved with evidence tampering.
It finally took a Thursday, November 19, 2015 court order — issued by a judge who doesn’t appear to be of the “bad apple” variety — to force the city of Chicago to release the dashcam video. The city was given a Wednesday November 25 deadline to comply.
In a case of strangely coincidental timing, the same stonewalling “bad apples” from the Cook County State Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday, November 24 that it filed first degree murder charges against the ‘bad apple’ cop who killed the boy. The charges came nearly 400 days after the boy’s death, and just hours before the dashcam video’s release.
This shocking death and subsequent actions to delay or hide the truth behind the boy’s death involve the same police department whose “bad apples” have created a legal exposure of more than half a billion dollars since 2004.
This is the same police department where yet another set of “bad apples” created a domestic version of a CIA black ops torture site. Innocent civilians were abducted — with no Miranda rights reading — and were illegally as well as aggressively interrogated. These rights violations occurred within Chicago’s city limits.
Feel free to call officer Van Dyke’s shooting of McDonald the act of a “bad apple”
But the stench from all of these “bad apples” working with Officer Van Dyke makes me think the City of Chicago needs a new orchard …
song currently stuck in my head: “empty pages” – traffic