Multiple Police Killings in Chicago Over Christmas Weekend

Another day, another call for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Over Christmas weekends two Chicagoans were shot and killed by Chicago police officers, one a young man reportedly brandishing a baseball bat, the other a woman who is said to have been shot by accident. USA Today reports:

Embattled Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will cut short his family vacation in Cuba and head home Tuesday after a police shooting Saturday that claimed two lives, one of them a woman who law enforcement admits was killed accidentally by an officer.

The 56-year-old mayor serving his second term has seen his approval rating fall to 18% and demonstrators calling for his resignation after he was forced to release a police dashboard camera that showed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald shot 16 times by a police officer in 2014. Tensions have only increased in the last 48 hours after the latest police shooting that left a 19-year-old engineering student and 55-year-old mother of four dead.

Emanuel’s spokeswoman Kelley Quinn said in a statement Monday that the mayor would cut short a family vacation with his wife and three children to Cuba in order to “continue the ongoing work of restoring accountability and trust in the Chicago Police Department.” She said he had been in constant contact with his staff and the acting police superintendent John Escalante.

Among those calling for Mayor Emanuel’s resignation is Al Sharpton:

Rahm Emanuel is headed back to Chicago following a family trip in Cuba, as a prominent voice called for the mayor to resign.

Rev. Al Sharpton — the National Action Network founder and MSNBC host — called for the Chicago mayor to step down Monday, after a city police officer fatally shot two people, one of them accidentally.

Emanuel was vacationing in Cuba during Saturday’s shooting, the latest circumstance of a Chicago police officer gunning down black residents. The mayor’s spokesperson later confirmed that Emanuel was “cutting his family trip short” to return to Chicago on Tuesday, but declined to identify when his trip was originally scheduled to end.

“We have not seen this kind of physical disparity by a mayor in the middle of this crisis,” Sharpton told the Daily News, discussing national circumstances of police violence. “It’s stunning to me … they’re outraged in the community.”

I don’t know how much that hurts the mayor but it certainly doesn’t help.

Besides the deteriorating political condition of Chicago’s mayor what I think the latest shooting illustrate is what I think will be an accelerating pattern, an increasing tendency to second guess the police not just in Chicago but everywhere. When the police are actually facing weapons (unlike in the case of Laquan McDonald), I don’t think that’s appropriate. We weren’t there. We can’t evaluate the situation.

But that’s what police officers are likely to face going forward and, sadly, they’ve brought it on themselves.

4 comments… add one
  • michael reynolds Link

    I’m also reluctant to criticize those who were in the heat of battle, but even I – with no training or body armor or baton or taser or pepper spray – would not shoot a man armed with a baseball bat. If cops can’t take on a guy with a bat they have no business being cops.

  • PD Shaw Link

    I agree Dave, but some portion of the problem lies with the media. The coverage of these events, particularly with video, has often been misleading.

    The Freddie Gray mistrial revealed that the video everybody argued about was irrelevant. The prosecutor’s case was that Gray received a fatal injury in mid-transit and the driver was guilty of failing to take Gray to the hospital sooner. There was no evidence of a “rough ride.” The other passenger who seemed to support the police theory that Gray was thrashing around recanted his initial statements and was irrelevant. A lot of what the media reported was wrong and misleading, and news accounts still report that Gray’s was a “rough ride” case.

  • jan Link

    When police shootings are politicized in order to foment and bring on societal changes fitting the agenda of one party, it oftentimes distorts what really happened, and sets a sense of perpetual unease into motion.

    In the case of the police, they feel the spotlight of unfair scrutiny is on them 24/7, especially when it involves an action against anyone Black. Color has now become a lighting rod in criminal activity, in deciding what constitutes an actionable threat, rather than the actual circumstances that might jeopardize the safety of responding officers and/or innocent bystanders. Consequently, split second calls are frequently put through the racist filter first, with secondary considerations given to the broader threat posed by a person with a bat, knife, gun to people in his/her way, including police officers.

    This is why I’ve always given special leeway to “first responders,” as clarifying details are often not revealed until after the event has taken place. This gives more room for honest mistakes to be made, such as a drawn gun being a realistic-looking toy rather than a real one. Who out there, though, would like to trade jobs with some of these men and women, going through the stress of keeping order, potentially putting your life on the line every day, all the while at the mercy of a crowd’s interpretation of justice?

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