The two cops in question are suing the city for what they claim is harassment they suffered within the Police Department when they cooperated with federal prosecutors who were investigating corruption within the city police Narcotics Unit.
THE TWO OFFICERS say they were penalized for violating the “code of silence” that supposedly says police do not talk about their own internal workings or against each other.
During the squabbling over various police-related shootings, Emanuel made public acknowledgement of the “thin blue line” of silence that cops are supposed to observe.
Which is why the two officers now want Emanuel to have to testify on behalf of their case. They figure if he publicly confirms that police are supposed to keep quiet about each others’ improprieties, it will give their case more legitimacy.
Because then they can claim it proof that police officers really were penalizing the pair because they dared to speak out against colleagues who acted improperly.
ATTORNEYS FOR EMANUEL went so far last week as to offer to make a public statement confirming that a code of silence exists, provided that it meant Emanuel wouldn’t have to participate in the lawsuit in any way.
U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman wouldn’t go along with such a deal. In fact, he implied during a hearing in his federal courtroom last week that he may still order Emanuel to have to testify during the trial – which is expected to take place during the month of June.
Personally, I’m skeptical that the tactic will work, particularly since Emanuel likely would be perceived as a hostile witness of sorts. He’ll probably go out of his way to say as little as possible, while also doing nothing that would cause a judge to find him in contempt of court.
Although I suspect there are those people who are so eager to bash Rahm Emanuel that they would gain great pleasure from the thought of Emanuel being found in contempt and getting tossed in a jail cell – even if for just a few hours.
THIS ACTUALLY REMINDS me of a nearly two-decade old trial in U.S. District Court in Springfield, Ill., when then-Gov. Jim Edgar had to spend a day testifying in court in a criminal case involving executives with Management Services of Illinois who eventually were found guilty of bribing state officials to get an overly-generous contract to do work for the state Public Aid Department.
Defendants tried to get Edgar to say he was unaware of any connection between the executives and state government officials – which defense attorneys then argued meant there couldn’t have been any intent to bribe anybody.
A jury back in 1997 didn’t buy the argument then – the defendants were found guilty and wound up doing some prison time.
Why do I suspect that anything Emanuel would say wouldn’t wind up providing any benefit to the lawsuit by the pair of police officers?
IT MAY WELL come out that Emanuel, in talking of how police tend to “clam up” when publicly discussing their own activities, was merely talking in a general sense, and wouldn’t know of specific incidents.
Even though the idea that police tend to keep quiet about each other isn’t a unique concept. It’s just one that’s incredibly hard to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the law requires as proof for a legal case.
Just like it’s also next to impossible to prove that a police officer behaves in a racist manner when engaging in acts that, on the surface, are abhorrent!
Which could mean the only ultimate winner from the idea of forcing Rahm Emanuel to take the stand and testify will be the political pundits – on the off-chance that Hizzoner happens to say something particularly foolish while supposedly offering to tell us, “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”