Heroes: Chicago's embattled police are fighting back
See also: Thomas Lifson's "Facing an FBI and DoJ investigation of Smollett case, Kim Foxx is panicking and changing her story."
What have we learned about the Jussie Smollett case so far? Among other things, that it's starting to get very stupid to mess with the Chicago police.
The embattled department is obviously fighting back against the leftist prosecutor's effort to throw out all its thousands of hours of solid police work, proving beyond the shadow of a doubt for news readers at least, that Jussie Smollett faked his own hate-crime attack in a bid to make more money on his television show, and tried to smear President Trump's supporters as a side benefit. The backlash is obvious, not just from angry statements to the press from Chicago police officials, but in its lightning-swift release of police files regarding the Jussie Smollett case, one step ahead of the prosecutor's office's bid to seal them from human eyes forever.
If you know anything about how slowly Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are normally handled by bureaucrats of all sorts, it stands out. CWB Chicago, a local community reporting group, asked for the files, and CBS Chicago seems to have been on the job, too, from what I can tell, with CWB and possibly CBS putting in the FOIA request immediately. So instead of allowing the records to go to the bottom of the sea, the cops had grounds to release them...to comply with the law.
Scott Johnson at Power Line also noticed the swiftness.
The CWBChicago site has posted the Chicago Police Department's redacted investigative file in the Smollett case. Having made a freedom of information request for the file yesterday, the department responded today. That's an extraordinarily prompt response. The file was to have been deep-sixed by now. I include CWBChicago's links to the file records as provided in the following explanation[.]
What do we have here? Well, one, it's obvious the cops did very good police work to come up with 16 detailed felonies — the case looked airtight for anyone reading about it — what with Smollett writing a check to the two Nigerian actors involved in staging the attack, the two men confessing to taking that $3,500 check to stage the stunt, and the entire chain of events from buying the rope to establishing motive well documented in the police reporting. Smollett's statements make him appear to be a bare-faced liar.
The fact that the politically ambitious and well connected prosecutor's office dropped the charges without telling the cops, and then moved to seal the records — without even a request for it from Smollett's attorneys — suggests that someone wants something covered up...and he's willing to pitch the cops overboard to do it.
The Chicago cops aren't standing for this. They knew that someone wanted to take away the case from them from the get-go, starting with the effort to take the case away from the cops hand it to the politicized (and less competent) FBI. Prosecutor Kim Foxx had been taking calls from an Obama political machine operative to achieve that end, and then "recused" herself when she got caught. But she didn't stop, apparently not really recusing herself.
Next thing they knew, Foxx's office dropped the case, saying it was just their normal way of handling such cases, using the Obama administration–style excuse of "priorities" and "use of resources."
The cops knew otherwise. Their case pitched over the side, they also knew that a precedent was set — one that would affect their police work for years to come. They'd be investigating fake hate crimes for years now, with every caught miscreant demanding the same treatment Smollett got. They could respond to this by going on a policeman's stealth strike, perhaps, and just not bothering to enforce the law in the streets as their way of handling it, which would be a message of sorts, but they seemed to want to win in a way conducive to effective police work instead.
Already, this is what's going on in Chicago as cops attempt to police the streets. Look at this, from Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds:
CHICAGO ACTIVISTS OUT TO RE-ELECT TRUMP: On the West Side, the street shows no fear of Chicago police.
It was always going to be a bad summer. But something happened the other day on the West Side that makes me think that old archetype of a sergeant may be right this time.
Authorities confirmed that two police officers — TAC cops, not rookies — were making a drug arrest shortly after 2 p.m. on Sunday.
A mob appeared, threatening the officers, surrounding them, threatening to reach for their own weapons to shoot them dead, and the cops let the suspect go.
What is learned here? The street is officially no longer afraid of the Chicago police.
If the cops had fired their weapons, news media would have been all over them, metaphorically skinning them alive. Politicians would have demanded their heads. Democratic presidential candidates, and the two campaigning for mayor, would have held repeated news conferences.
But this? Nothing.
I don't see politicians convening blue ribbon panels of experts. I don't see media bringing all the light they can bring to this. Tribune reporter William Lee crafted a compelling story, but one story isn't enough.
The cops know they're alone. That's not a good prescription for what may come.
I've never heard of that before, of cops so intimidated during an arrest that they'd back off. And I wonder what message that sends, to cops, to the street, and what will come of it.
Riots and attacks on the police. MAGA-mentum. Trump2020. Thanks, wokesters.
In order for the police to enforce order in the streets, which is the mission they are sworn to defend, the cops can see that their real battlefield is not hoodlums, but politicians and the press — whose commanding heights are on the information front. The TAC squad cops in the story above knew that they'd be "skinned alive" in the press, so they walked away.
The Smollett case cops could see that, too. So they bit back.
Things are obviously changing now, because these Smollett case cops took the battle to the information front, by making their good police work transparent, answering that FOIA request.
It's heroic. It's laudable. And it's better than walking away. It's also pretty clear that they are winning on the national front, too.
One can only hope that a lesson is learned from this, that a new precedent has been set: that the Chicago cops have had it and aren't taking it anymore from the Obama-politicized left. Messing with the Chicago cops is the stupidest thing a leftist can do.
Image credit: Screen grab from shareable Vimeo video via City Club of Chicago, with minor edit by Monica Showalter.