Chicago is obviously the number one city in many different categories but none so important as pure political hypocrisy. Amidst the release of the report from the federal civil rights pattern and practice investigation into the Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson can still muster the courage to stand in front of the media and bash other public officials for not doing their jobs. Wow! Only in Chicago can such a thing happen.
If Johnson’s actions were not bad enough let’s add a little context to the mix. The same week Johnson stands in front of the media to complain Chip Mitchell from WBEZ does a story about 10th District Commander James Sanchez who Johnson promoted to his recent position despite Sanchez’s history of racking up 90 civilian complaints in his 30 years with the department. That averages out to about 3 complaint a year. Now even if just 5% of those complaints were legitimate (we suspect a much higher rate) that would mean Sanchez has about 5 sustained complaints against him. Is this really the guy we want promoted to a command position just as the feds are coming out with the results of their sweeping civil rights investigation? Besides burning the report live on television could Johnson have shown his disrespect for the findings of the federal investigation in any stronger fashion?
As I stated in an OpEd in Crain’s in August 2016 Eddie Johnson flourished within the very CPD culture we are seeking to change and that paired with his lack of any history of being any sort of an internal agent for change made him wholly unqualified to lead the CPD in to a new era. His promotion of Sanchez despite everything that has happened over the last two years in Chicago and throughout the country Is just the latest proof of how unqualified he is. He is not a change agent. We was not meant to be one.
Rahm’s appointment of Johnson is nothing more than race politics as its finest. For reasons only the city council’s black caucus knows they decided to pressure Rahm for the appointment of an internal black candidate for the job of Superintendent of Police.
“Alderman Roderick Sawyer and members of the City Council’s Black Caucus expressed their preferences for a local African-American as Chicago’s next police superintendent at City Hall Thursday.” Chicago Patch, 3/16/16
For some reason the black caucus, led by 6th ward Alderman Roderick Sawyer, looked at the videotaped murder of Laquan McDonald and said to themselves the most important thing we can do for our communities is make sure the least amount of changes comes to CPD practices. They then want on a public campaign to push Rahm to appoint an internal black candidate. What they got was the Sanchez promoting Johnson.
I would say this was the black caucus’ worst moment on police reform but sadly it isn’t. Just after the videotaped execution of McDonald was released Community Renewal Society approached Sawyer and the black caucus with the Fair Cops ordinance. It was all ready to be introduced but Sawyer and the black caucus sat on it for five months before it was introduced. When it was eventually introduced it was watered down and the fervor from the MacDonald tape was starting wane. The exact worst moment to introduce the police reform ordinance. I can only wonder if that was on purpose. If it wasn’t then I guess the only other explanation is gross incompetence. Sadly the black caucus has never been an organization that pushes the best interests of their communities. Their track record is a long history of giving both Daley and Rahm all the votes he wants. Very sad.