Rahmbo's Murdergate Scandal

There is a reason Chicago mayor and former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel earned the nickname “Rahmbo”. He is ruthless and relentless in acquiring and preserving power, and has no reservations about throwing people under the political bus to protect himself or his clients. He was a master at protecting President Obama’s political backside and is now busily protecting himself.

Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy, appointed by Emanuel, resigned Tuesday under pressure from Emanuel who claimed McCarthy had lost the trust of those he had pledged to serve, with Mayor Emanuel making the announcement with typical political double-speak:

"This morning I formally asked Supt. McCarthy for his resignation," Emanuel said at a news conference announcing a newly-formed task force on police accountability. He said while he was grateful for McCarthy's service, it is an "undeniable fact that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded.”

But that public trust in a crime-fighting policy that focused on controlling guns and not gangs at Emanuel’s direction had long ago eroded long before the video was released that showed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Chicago, under the leadership -- if that’s the right word -- had watched its children being slaughtered by gang bangers, from Demario Bailey, murdered for his Chicago Bulls jacket, to Hadiya Pendleton, shot blocks from President Obama’s Chicago residence, to the latest horror, the murder by gang member of 9-year-old Tyshawn Lee in a Chicago alley as he begged for his life.

So why now? Why only after a judge ordered the release of a video that has caused Chicagoans to take to the streets demanding the resignation of McCarthy, but also Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez, who conducted a glacial investigation of a slam-dunk murder case and Rahm Emanuel himself. The answer lies in asking the obvious question regarding every cover-up of a criminal act -- who would benefit the most? The answer is Rahm Emanuel.

Video evidence of an October 2014 murder by a white police officer of a black Chicago teen would not have helped Rahm Emanuel as he faced a tough mayoral primary election in election in February,2015. As it was, Emanuel was forced into Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff in April, having received just 46% versus no. 2 challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia’s 34%.

Emanuel was vulnerable and the video had to be suppressed and the McDonald family kept quiet. As Chicago activist Frank Chapman pointed out Tuesday on Chicago TV station WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight”, McCarthy’s forced resignation solves nothing and is only the tip of a very corrupt iceberg:

“The problem doesn’t end with McCarthy,” said Frank Chapman of the Chicago Alliance Against Racial and Political Repression. “The mayor, the Independent Police Review Authority, they’re all guilty. And 47 members of City Council all signed off on hush money given to the McDonald family.”

That money is the $5 million paid in March to the McDonald family, which has remained strangely quiet about the murder of their son ever since. As Thomas Lifson points out in his November25 American Thinker piece:

The details of the shooting threatened to become public prior to the February election, but action was taken to keep the video under wraps and the family quiet.

Lifson notes the Chicago Reporter’s commentary on the most curious timeline indicating a cover-up by a Chicago Mayor of a crime that threatened his reelection:

Last December, Kalven and Futterman issued a statement revealing the existence of a dash-cam video and calling for its release.  Kalven tracked down a witness to the shooting, who said he and other witnesses had been “shooed away” from the scene with no statements or contact information taken.

In February, Kalven obtained a copy of McDonald’s autopsy, which contradicted the official story that McDonald had died of a single gunshot to the chest. In fact, he’d been shot 16 times -- as Van Dyke unloaded his service revolver, execution style -- while McDonald lay on the ground.

The next month, the City Council approved a $5 million settlement with McDonald’s family, whose attorneys had obtained the video. They said it showed McDonald walking away from police at the time of the shooting, contradicting the police story that he was threatening or had “lunged at” cops. The settlement included a provision keeping the video confidential.

We used to call that “hush money.” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has called for a federal probe of the Chicago police department like the one conducted after the shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson on Ferguson, Missouri. That probe found Wilson innocent but the Ferguson police guilty of systemic malfeasance. One wonders if Madigan letter to President Obama’s attorney general, Loretta Lynch, calling for an investigation of his hometown police will find a receptive ear. Madigan’s letter notes:

“The shocking death of Laquan McDonald is the latest tragedy in our city that highlights serious questions about the use of unlawful and excessive force by Chicago police officers and the lack of accountability for such abuse. Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken. Chicago cannot move ahead and rebuild trust between the police and the community without an outside, independent investigation into its police department to improve policing practices.”

The fish rots from the head and in this case the rotting head is not Garry McCarthy but Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who served an administration that lectures us on racial injustice and police excesses against minorities. If black lives really matter, it is Rahm Emanuel and the payment of hush money to cover-up a police murder for political purposes that should be investigated.

Daniel John Sobieski, a Chicago resident, is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.