The Chicago Police Have Failed Us, and So Will Lori Lightfoot

While watching Lori Lightfoot hold a press conference about gun offenders and weekend violence, I cringed. Part of the reason I cringed was because of the creature standing behind her, the failed Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, the same man who did nothing to punish the officer who shot Rekia Boyd in the head and lied about a suspect having a gun. The other reason I cringed was because, in this country, people are innocent until proven guilty, but Lori Lightfoot and Johnson stood at the podium arguing that those allegedly caught with guns should be incarcerated and not out on bond. What happened to due process?

For far too long, the Chicago Police have been a corrupt organization of unruly cops having their way with minorities. Take for instance the SOS Chicago officers who beat and framed suspects as recently as 2010 or the Jon Burge reign in which dozens of Black men were tortured and framed. People say that all cops are not bad. Sure. But have those people ever heard of complicity or accessory? 

In the LaQuan McDonald case, several officers lied in their reports to protect their fellow guilty officer Jason Van Dyke. There is a known code of silence amongst cops. They don’t snitch on each other. Doesn’t a cop covering up for a dirty cop make the other cop just as dirty? 

Back to the damaged credibility of the Chicago Police Department, who’s to say that everyone these cops arrest for gun crimes actually committed those crimes? You know who is to say that? A judge or jury, not the mayor. Lori Lightfoot is mayor of Chicago, and it is her duty to protect the City’s citizens. Part of being able to do this is by acknowledging the crookedness of the CPD. Not all the CPD is bad, but in this case, a few bad apples can spoil the bunch. 

To Lightfoot, make it your business not to jump to conclusions about who’s guilty and who’s not, lest you end up like Rahm Emanuel and be made a fool of as he was by the very department he tried to protect. 

#laquan #laquanmcdonald #chicago #police #chicagopolice #lorilightfoot

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America’s Trash: The Average Black Man

As the commander-in-chief douses with gasoline the racial fire that has consumed America and led to two recent mass shootings by at least one known white supremacist, this country’s judicial system continues to be tone deaf when it comes to the plight of Black men. This is obvious in the case of Gaston Tucker, a 32-year-old Chicago man who was on parole and allegedly caught with a pistol during a traffic stop. After reviewing his phone calls, prosecutors used what he said against him to argue for a no bond. 

According to a Chicago Tribune piece by Jason Meisner, Gaston was recorded by phone call reflecting on the stop that led to his subsequent arrest. Gaston supposedly said over the phone, “Everything happens for a reason man…what I was  doing this summertime, man, I would have gotten caught shooting that [firearm]…that would have been life in prison…Boy, I quit. I ain’t carrying [a gun] no more.”

Tucker didn’t know this phone call would be used against him. So, this is as genuine as it can get. For all intents and purposes, this sounds like a man resigned to his fate, a man who knows where he went wrong and knows what he needs to do to get better. This is a man who is beyond the denial stage. At this point, he is in the stage where a helping hand is all he needs. Gaston has been punished his whole life  by the streets of  Chicago, by the judicial system, by society. He understands he has made bad decisions that could have been worse. Now, he wants to do better. This is what a compassionate person would get from the phone call he allegedly made. 

However, the judge , U.S. Magistrate Maria Valdez said, “[Gaston Tucker] feels that he is stuck between the crosshairs of Chicago” and used Gaston’s supposed phone call against him as a reason to instate a no-bond order for the man. Instead of feeling compassion for a man who wants to do right and knows he did wrong, this judge punished him for feeling stuck. Haven’t we all felt stuck before in our lives? 

Gaston’s situation is not unique. His story is one told every day dozens of times across this country where Black boys and Black men pay a price heavier than what their white counterparts pay. This is a country where a judge argues that a white man convicted of rape deserves a light sentence because he could have a potentially bright future and comes from a wealthy family or where a judge can sentence a white man to probation after that white man kills four and paralyzes two while drunk driving and flees the scene and the judge agrees that the man was too rich to know right from wrong. While the Black man or boy is punished for being poor and doing wrong, the white man or white boy is slapped on the hand and given a light sentence if any at all. 

There is no love or compassion for Black people in this criminal justice system. The same burdens that were put upon Black people by the system are the same burdens the system continues to punish Black people for. Gaston Tucker is a prime example that when the system has the chance to help a Black person at his lowest, the system instead kicks and spits on him for being so lowly. 

#ethancouch #gastontucker #chicagotribune #chicago #chicagonews