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Tag: Chicago Police

Where is the outrage

Image: PV Bella

“In an interview with the Tribune on Friday, Lightfoot said people throughout Chicago are afraid because of street violence but said her administration is making long-needed changes that will help curb crime over time.” (Chicago Tribune- 9/10/2021). 

Mayor Lori Lightfoot does not realize, Chicago ran out of time months ago. She is hoping the onset of cooler weather will drive the number of violent crimes down. Lightfoot can award Police Superintendent David Brown a Gold Cookie for winning the Summer Olympics of Violence. She can claim victory. She knows the people and friendly news media will buy it.

Memories are short in this city. The news media is too cozy with City Hall. They will praise the mayor and the superintendent for their “success.” The gullible citizens will lap it up. Peace at last! Let’s have a parade with a fall food and music festival in Grant Park.

There should have been screaming editorials demanding change and for Superintendent Brown to resign or be fired by midsummer. Alderman should have been shouting from the rooftops to fire Brown. Failure is an option is Chicago’s new motto.

Part of public safety is crime control and prevention. The criminals are out of control, and the daily numbers show there is little prevention. Brown keeps playing the name game with strategies, plans, deployments, and precision deployments. It is alphabet soup.

“Gangs, guns, and drugs” is the new old bold plan Brown trotted out last week. We heard that from the past nine former superintendents and their interim appointees, going back to the Daley administration. Tex Brown shoots from the lip, week after failing week. He can’t hit the broadside of a barn.

I am waiting for the week before Halloween when Superintendent David Brown can blame the violence on the ghosts of Al Capone and his gang. He will form a Community Paranormal Untouchable Ghostbusters Unit (PUGU) to go after them.

Year to date, over 3000 people have been shot and over 500 hundred killed by gunfire. The street violence is out of control, with carjackings, robberies, and other violent crimes or crimes with threats of violence. Infants, toddlers, children, teens, adults, and the elderly were victims of violence and murder. Over 30 police officers have been shot at or shot so far this year. One, Ella French, was murdered, and her partner catastrophically injured.

This failure is our fault too. We should demand better. There is no collective anger among the citizens. Since the pandemic loosened up, all Chicago wants to do is go out and party hearty. Ooh, a concert. Ooh, a street fest. More murders and violent crime? Meh. All we want are bread and circuses. We should be mass protesting at City Hall every day.

Sometimes, elected officials must make unpopular choices to solve thorny issues. It takes courage. There is no courage at City Hall, the State’s Attorney’s office, or the courts. There is no will to be unpopular.

Chicago became a spineless city. We surrendered to the barbarians.

Next month is the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire. The city was devastated, burned to the ground. While the final embers were still smoldering, the civic leaders and boosters started rebuilding. We became the city of we will, and we can. We will rise from the ashes bigger, better, and stronger. We did.

The city is metaphorically burning to the ground. Violence spreads throughout the city like the wind-blown firestorm of 1871. There is no one to put out the fire.

Chicago Retail Politics

Image: PV Bella

Today is Sunday. At 8:30 this morning, my mail carrier delivered the mail. It got me thinking about retail politics. Retail politics is the political religion in Chicago. Mayor Richard J. Daley was responsible for creating the Church of Retail Politics, hence the phrase, “Chicago is the city that works.” He and his successors spoiled the citizens. We not only expect city services, we demand them, especially when there are blips.

The worst thing a city employee can tell citizens is there is nothing they can do. They find a way to resolve the issue fast.

Citizens want, demand, and expect 24/7/365:

  • Police, fire, and EMS to show up yesterday when called
  • The streetlights on at night
  • Uninterrupted utilities
  • Public health and sanitation
  • Safe and efficient public transportation
  • Scheduled garbage pick-up
  • Clean streets
  • Good schools
  • Good and safe parks
  • Potholes fixed
  • Snow plowed in the winter
  • Flood control
  • Consumer protection
  • Safe buildings
  • Safe roads
  • Tree trimming
  • Mail delivery
  • Quick removal of debris after major storms
  • Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and glitter spewing unicorns

Alderpersons and the mayor will not survive if the basic city and other services are interrupted too long or too often. People in charge of agencies, utilities, and even the Chicago Postmaster General shudder when the phone rings, and it’s an alderperson or the mayor on the other end.

Thanks to improving communications technology, service interruptions are mitigated fast and efficiently. Toward the end of my police career, it was not unusual to see a commissioner, department head, alderperson, or other executive show up for some major issue in the wee morning hours. During major emergencies, the who’s who of politics and utility executives showed up on the scene.

I used to work out with one of former Mayor, Richard M. Daley’s bodyguards. He regularly told me if they were driving through the city and Daley saw something amiss, he got on the phone and made sure the problem was resolved ASAP, sometimes yelling and swearing.

No one cares about the political ideology of the mayor or alderpersons when it comes to services. Rightwing, leftwing, progressive, socialist, whatever. They may get elected spewing weasel words drafted by weasels. If they fail to resolve, implement, or create city services, Chicago’s retail bread, and butter, they will not get re-elected.

Some alderpersons do not get this. It is more critical for them to wax ideologically, attend protests, be in solidarity, and down with whatever cause of the day or hour is. Some of these alderpersons represent distressed wards where things are deteriorating every day. They are blind to the needs of the people in their quest to be right on their petty ideological issues versus serving the public.

The mayor is the CEO of the Chicago Retail Store. The alderpersons are the regional managers. Most do a good to fair job. Others are so far in the weeds they cannot see a two-story building. These are wards suffering from decades of economic and social neglect. Nothing changes except, sometimes, the alderperson.

Chicago is suffering from a long hot summer of rampant violent criminality. The mayor is just about the only one discussing it. We hear crickets from too many alderpersons. The mayor may be the one responsible. In Chicagoese, she wears the hat. But the alderpersons are just as responsible. They are supposed to work with the police commanders in their wards to ensure people are safe. Many would rather spout nonsense instead of common sense. Some would not be caught dead, seen with a member of the police department.

My former alderperson was AWOL for six of his eight terms in office. His successor is hands-on. He is also feet on as he walks through the ward. When he sees something, he says something. He gets on the phone to resolve the issue. I may disagree with his political views, but he is doing what the people of this ward want, ensuring city services are ongoing.

Never listen to the political horse manure alderpersons spout. Look at what they do. Weasel words are meaningless. Action is the only thing that counts. We have a responsibility to hold alderpersons’ feet under the fire. If they get complacent or talk, we need to demand, loudly, more from them. If not, no matter how “beloved” they are, we organize and raise money to vote them out. That is the Chicago Way.

Mayor Lightfoot Defended the Indefensible

Rituals are important. Part of the ritual for a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty is to have an honor guard and bagpipers march the ambulance from the street into the receiving dock of the Office of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s facility.

The ritual is not just to honor the officer. It is for the personnel lining up to salute their fallen comrade. More important, it is for the family. I say again. The ritual is FOR THE FAMILY.

First Deputy Superintendent, Eric Carter, tried to cancel part of the ritual for fallen Officer Ella French. “We can’t wait for the bagpipers. We don’t have 20 minutes to wait for this s**t.”

Carter turned the ritual into “This s**t.”

Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended Carter. How does one defend the indefensible?

“There was no official honor guard that night. There was, let me choose my words carefully, [a] well-meaning but not well-organized group that wanted to hijack the procession. Which would have meant that the family would have been delayed exponentially in getting to the morgue,” the mayor said.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

“Given the new restrictions that the new coroner has put in place, that wouldn’t have been fair to them. … So, a call was made under those circumstances to focus on the family. Eric Carter made the right call. I support what he did. And I’m horrified that, in this moment, people are trying to savage him for whatever agenda or purpose.” (Chicago Sun-Times)

The Medical Examiner’s office refuted the mayor’s statement. By the way, there is no coroner in Cook County. The position was changed to the Office of the Medical Examiner in the mid-1970s. Details matter. Just like Superintendent Brown’s mistake in calling Officer French Ella Fitzgerald twice.

Either Eric Carter lied to the mayor, or the mayor lied to the citizens to cover up for Carter. The citizens of Chicago should be horrified that Carter is being lionized for his disrespect and dishonor to Officer Ella French and her family by the mayor.

These rituals are carefully planned in detail well in advance. The honor guard procession is part of that meticulous plan. It has been for years. Some mysterious rogue group did not hijack the plan. There was no agenda or purpose. There was only a meticulous plan. 

Eric Carter deserves to be “savaged.” Eric Carter decided things were taking too long for his taste. It had nothing to do with regards to the family or Medical Examiner protocols. That is just a fabrication to justify his dishonorable impatience.

A story was concocted to make Carter look like he was doing the right thing, the noble thing. That is all it is, a fairy tale. Chicago is a city of tall tales when people get caught doing something they should not do. It is all “Once upon a time” and “Twas a dark and stormy night.” There is a happy ending for the disreputable.

The rituals are important. Eric Carter knew this. The mayor should know this. There was no need to bum rush things that fateful night. The planned ritual should have played out. The family should have witnessed the honor afforded their daughter, Officer Ella French.

Lightfoot’s tall tale cut the last thread of morale that was left in the Chicago Police Department. By defending the indefensible, mayor Lori Lightfoot lost the Chicago Police and Fire Department members, the retirees, and the people they are connected to.

Police officers are angry. Their families are angry. The retired cops are angrier than usual. On election day, if Lightfoot runs, we will vote with our anger.

God forgets and forgives. We never forget the fallen. We never forget the disrespect given to our fallen. We never forgive those who dishonored our fallen. We will never forgive or forget Eric Carter. We will never forgive or forget Mayor Lori Lightfoot for defending his dishonorable behavior.

The Chicago Police Department has no more time for Eric Carter’s s**t. Carter is devoid of honor. His actions that night were despicable. The rank and file no longer have confidence in him. When leaders lose the confidence of their subordinates, they cannot lead.

Carter should do the honorable thing and resign or retire for his dishonorable behavior. If he lied to the mayor, he should be fired from his position, reducing him to his former rank.

Ella French is a hero. The missteps over her death, from calling her Ella Fitzgerald twice to denying her an honor guard is horrific. 

It appears that Dumb and Dumber are running the Chicago Police Department. We need smarter people to lead the members of the Chicago Police Department.

Hello City Hall

Image: PV Bella

After being locked down for 15 months, Chicago looked with anticipation to celebrating the Fourth of July weekend.

For too many, the celebration turned into grief and mourning. More than 100 people were shot, including two Chicago police officers. Depending on other sources, up to 18 or more people were killed by gunfire.

Hordes of young people descended on the downtown area in what was termed as a wilding. They created havoc, blocking streets, dancing on cars, setting fires, and shooting fireworks at the police.

The Fourth of July weekend proved that the politicians and police leadership lost control of Chicago. The city is like the fictional wild west. It is violent and out of control.

We are on the road to a long hot murderous summer, with no end in sight. Children, even infants, are being wounded and killed.

Mass shootings are on the rise across the city. Rifles are more prevalent, increasing the number of innocent victims.

The Chicago Police Department is demoralized, working twelve-hour shifts with days off canceled. Officers are confused about what they are allowed to do to prevent violent crimes due to no direction from the police leadership and City Hall.

The superintendent of police is out of his league. Chicago is not Dallas. He is leading from behind. This is what happens when cities bring in mercenary outsider police leaders instead of promoting them from the ranks.

The toolbox police officers use to control, prevent, and curb crime is padlocked.

The criminals are brazened and brave. They fear nothing, not jail or prison, not injury or death. They terrorize this city with impunity. Our elected officials are cowering in fear of activist and social media backlash if the unlock the police toolbox and let the officers do their jobs.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Superintendent Brown must step up and step in. They must give direction and allow the police to do their job.

The police toolbox must be unlocked, and all the legal and constitutional tactics within should be employed. The feds should be investigating the gangs, drug, and illegal gun dealers with the same zeal they went after the Chicago Outfit. They should revive the publicity mill they used in the past to identify the major players. Citizens need to know who these people are.

This is going to be a long hot summer of bloodshed and death if the mayor, alderpersons, and police superintendent do not get a handle on the violence in our streets. Right now, no neighborhood is safe from violent outbursts. 

Last week members of some communities gathered and begged the city to do something besides holding press conferences. Alderman Ray Lopez, the City Council voice against violence, is the only alderman consistently addressing the issue. He is being ignored and shut out.

Where are the other forty-nine?

If superintendent Brown cannot handle the violence pandemic, he should saddle up his horse and head back to Texas.

The time for talking, finger-pointing, and blaming is over. The time for worrying about social media and news media backlash is over. Someone in charge must act, or the havoc, mayhem, bloodshed, and murder will continue.