Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A violent overtone to this week of thanks; will it be ugly Black Friday?

Perhaps it’s only fitting at a time when filmmaker Spike Lee is preparing to put Chicago on public display for its level of urban violence that the reality of the situation is more ugly than any fantasy that anyone could concoct.

We had one of Chicago’s “finest” facing an initial court appearance on Tuesday on a charge of murder related to the death last year of a teenager. It seems that boy was shot repeatedly by the officer, and the judge was so repulsed that he denied bond for the police officer.

OR AT LEAST that’s what the video camera on the dashboard of the officer’s squad car appears to indicate in a video snippet that was made public late Tuesday – and has some fearing that this year’s Black Friday will be more than just a retail designation.

That incident alone would be enough to put a damper on this week in Chicago’s history.

Yet we also got the word earlier this week that Chicago police intend to dismiss a police detective for the 2012 shooting death of a 22-year-old woman whom activists say the detective shot to death while off-duty.

To see our newscasts, you’d think we had nothing but killer cops roaming our streets – and a whole lot of white faces wearing badges giving them the legal authority to use violent actions on people they think are breaking the law.

WHICH IT WOULD seem is an authority that gets used all too often on people with natural black faces (and not just some clowns putting on an Archie Bunker-like minstrel show).

Although what’s going to enhance this particular debate is the fact that some people in our Chicago world are going to want to believe that these officers were just in their use of deadly force.

There will be those who will jump to the conclusion that people like Rekia Boyd and LaQuan McDonald must have done something wrong – something to deserve whatever deadly force was inflicted upon them.

For the reality is that we do give police officers the authority to use force on people; and we hope they don’t over-step that authority. Only we as a society don’t seem to agree on what the limits of that authority ought to be.

THEN AGAIN, THERE may be the tendency to take these two extreme instances and try to equate them as the norm of our society in Chicago. Which itself would be a tragedy.

Although the fact that some will use the fact that these incidents were aberrations as some reason to justify them is itself a sad commentary on our Chicago mindset.

I understand why people are upset about these deaths and the fact that some people amongst us want to downplay them. Although I also comprehend that some are too eager to jump to conclusions.

Because the reality is that this damaging video that allegedly has the potential to stir up Chicago into a massive Thanksgiving Day race riot hasn’t been seen by anybody outside of a few prosecutorial and law enforcement types who are going to bring their own emotionless perspective to the sight of someone being shot and killed.

OF COURSE, THESE two killings weren’t the only ones adding to the public outrage this week. There’s also the case of Tyshawn Lee, who was the 9-year-old who was killed in a gang-related shooting because it was believed (rightfully so, it seems) that his father was a street gang member.

Someone is actually facing unrelated criminal charges for weapons possession, and had a $1 million bond set in part because he’s a person of interest in the Lee death. Usually, that’s enough to ensure someone stays in the Cook County Jail while the case is pending in court.

But the Chicago Tribune reported that the suspect has a girlfriend who recently won a huge financial settlement against a hospital – and she put up the money for bail that will allow him to be free for the time being.

Some are going to argue he’s not charged with the Lee slaying. But I’m also sure many people in Chicago will think his being able to post bond is a bigger outrage than anything the officers are alleged to have done.


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