Everyone is more comfortable talking about ‘the video’ than about the killing of Laquan McDonald. But the video is important only as ‘the thing left behind’—a messy artifact revealing that, for more than a year, Chicago’s police force and political establishment have all been complicit in covering up a dirty killing.
With this artifact as key, events of the past year have taken on a whole new meaning, one filling all Chicago with disgust and outrage. This clue to ‘what really happened’ gives the public a yardstick, empirical and moral, for measuring all the related actions that our officials took subsequently. The callousness, cowardice, and banality of their actions are enveloping the city in shame.
In a town used to corruption, this scandal is different, implicating the mayor, the police, the City Council, the state’s attorney, a complacent media, even, arguably, the victim’s family.
No one of the parties responsible for declaring Laquan McDonald’s death an unjustifiable mistake and demanding that his killer be appropriately punished rose to the occasion. For various reasons, everyone involved shirked this basic responsibility, efficiently burying the facts of the case in such a way that a gross miscarriage of justice was, in the end, ‘nobody’s fault,’ as Dickens would say.
Now the guilty parties are rushing to save themselves, stab others in the back, and shift the burden of responsibility. The mayor fired the police chief the other day. The feds will step up their investigating. But will the guilty be punished? Will Chicago ever change? As all Chicago wakes to the reality of its government’s systemic corruption, we’re about to find out whether any entity has the wherewithal to hold the police union, the mayor, or the City Council responsible for actions that amounted to an obstruction of justice.
Image: Screen shot from dashcom video,
which can be viewed in its entirety here.