Friday, January 25, 2019

The issue that won’t die; Van Dyke fate

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke may now be a convicted felon sentenced to serve a few years in prison (although Illinois Corrections Department officials still won’t say exactly which one) for the death of a teenager – but the racially-tinged shooting incident won’t wither away.
VAN DYKE: Case lingers on

For it seems that both the special prosecutor who oversaw the criminal case AND the Illinois attorney general’s office are considering legal maneuvers that could try to force a new prison sentence to be imposed.

SOMETHING, PERHAPS, CLOSER to the 18 to 20 years that prosecutors sought from Judge Vincent Gaughan, rather than the 6-year, 9-month sentence (of which he’s already done 3 months in the Rock Island County jail) that could see him released in a little over three years time.

Van Dyke was found guilty last autumn on a charge of murder in the second degree (implying there was some mitigating factor that could sort of justify the killing) and multiple counts of aggravated battery.

Literally one count for each of the 16 shots that Van Dyke was found to have fired at Laquan McDonald. Which theoretically could have resulted in prison time for each shot and could have added up to something close to 100 years of time,

In my own (admittedly non-law school educated) mind, that combination of charges never made sense. They conflicted with each other, and the real question to me about the sentencing that took place last week was how would Gaughan manage to reconcile the mismatch.
McDONALD: Means more in death than life

HE WOUND UP doing so by basing the sentence for Van Dyke off the second-degree murder charge and ignoring all those additional charges that could have brought about the lengthy, life-like prison term that the activist types eager to see imposed on a white cop for killing a black male who hadn’t even reached the age of maturity back on that October 2014 night that he was shot to death because he was acting erratically (his mind was messed up on illicit drugs that night) while walking around the neighborhood near a Burger King franchise.

It seems the legal minds wishing to appease those activists are wondering if the Illinois Supreme Court could issue a mandamus order – which essentially would say Gaughan screwed up and emphasized the wrong criminal charge.

Which could result in a resentencing with results more satisfactory to those people who back in autumn marched through the streets of downtown Chicago in celebration of the fact that a “cracker cop” got what he deserved by being found guilty.
RAOUL: Will he take on appeal?

We’ll have to see if Joseph McMahon (the special prosecutor brought in from suburban Kane County) or newly-elected state Attorney General Kwame Raoul wants to take on this issue – or is willing to accept the prison time that Van Dyke already must serve.

SOME WILL SAY that Van Dyke is now a former cop with a criminal record – which pretty much ruins him for any type of life he had hoped to live. They’re likely to think that prolonging this legal argument only stirs up more resentment amongst the city’s populace.

Although others will think the resentment lingers for as long as Van Dyke gets a penalty less severe than their imaginations have concocted.

This may be the real harm of the racist policies that were considered legitimate in our society in the past – they’ve created so much anger that it’s almost like we’re going to need white people to suffer unjustly in order to balance things out.

Which would only serve to ensure these racial tensions linger amongst us for decades to come – particularly fed on by nitwits in support of the Age of Trump we now live in who may well want to think that the only victim in this whole affair is Van Dyke himself!

OF COURSE, THERE will be others eager to keep the memory of this incident alive. Consider that newly-elected state Rep. Anne Stava-Murray, D-Naperville, is enhancing her reputation as someone eager to draw attention to herself by ticking off the sensibilities of political people around her.
STAVA-MURRAY: Wants McDonald Act

Stava-Murray introduced as her first bill ever a measure creating the Laquan McDonald Act. A measure applying only to Chicago and creating procedures by which we could have recall elections for mayor and alderman in Chicago and state’s attorney in Cook County.

It really does come across as an attention-grabber from the freshman legislator who already has indicated she’s not seeking re-election in 2020 – and instead will challenge Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., for his post on Capitol Hill. It certainly isn’t about necessary changes to the law – the electorate dumped Anita Alvarez as state’s attorney back in 2016 and Rahm Emanuel didn’t even try to seek re-election, largely because of public disgust over what happened to Laquan.

As though we’re supposed to forever remember Laquan, and not think of that silly clown and his mediocre hamburgers every time we hear the phrase “McDonald” in the future.


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