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by Peter Moskos

December 5, 2015

Chicago Cover Up

From the mayor on down to the officer on scene, the cover-up seems pretty big. Multiple false reports are very worrisome. Though a detective taking a statement from Van Dyke shouldn't qualify as another false report. But Van Dyke's partner, Walsh, is certainly culpable.

Update: The New York Times says "at least five other officers on the scene that night corroborated a version of events similar to the one Officer Van Dyke."

15 comments:

David Woycechowsky said...

Yup. Late to the party, Prof. Moskos. Hate to say it, but your bar fight seemed like pretty flimsy provocation, too. "Jew" is a suspect term, but, in context, the comment sounded like more of an awkward conversation starter than fighting words. After all, Jewish people aren't stereotypically known for coddling Muslim terrorists (real or suspected).

Peter Moskos said...

I'm constantly amazed how your assumptions about situations can be so off the mark. I've gone through life hearing "jew." (I'm often assumed to be one.) No. This was not a conversation starter. It was a hate-filled sneer the likes of which I've never heard before. Trust me on this one.

Peter Moskos said...

Let me go a step further: the likes of which I never expected to hear in my lifetime. The capital letters of "A JEW" do not do his hate-filled sneer justice.

A few years back another guy in another bar did call me a "kyke." That wasn't a friendly conversation starter either. But I just smiled and never went back.

Peter Moskos said...

Him accusing the other guy of being a Muslim terrorist was probably a similar "awkward conversation starter."

john mosby said...

Right, back to the McDonald shoot:

Remember the upstate NY prison break a few months ago? And remember how a trooper shot one of the escapees in the back, while he was fleeing unarmed?

Can someone explain to me why the trooper gets a medal, but McDonald's PO gets an indictment?

JSM

Peter Moskos said...

Tennessee v. Garner does not apply to prison escapes. Escaped and escaping cons are the only people who can still legally be shot and killed by the state for no other particular reason. The assumption is they're already threat by nature of their conviction and their escape. And because they've been convicted, due process has already happened. And because they've been convicted of a crime the constitution doesn't really apply anyway (but for select parts).

David Woycechowsky said...

I'll go with you on your assessment because I wasn't there and you were, but I should at least point out that I have assumed, or presumed, to be Jewish on more than a few occasions. Usually, but not always, it is not intended as an insult and the person only says they thought I was probably Jewish after finding out that I am not. I agree that you can tell a lot by the speaker's tone.

campbell said...

And remember how a trooper shot one of the escapees in the back, while he was fleeing unarmed?

Like our host said, prisoner. And even if he was only a suspect, he would have been a murder suspect and could still be shot.

Another recent example is the Mario Woods shooting. (which of course BLM is freaking out over) Surrounded by cops and holding a knife much like McDonald. But they try non lethal first and fail. The crucial difference though, is that Woods had already stabbed someone else and thus lethal force could be justified to prevent escape.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/officer-involved-shooting-reported-in-bayview-neighborhood/

Adam said...

I agree, campbell. Even under TN v. Garner, you can sometimes shoot a fleeing felon; it just has to be the type of fleeing felon who would pose a serious threat to others' safety if he got away. If Jihadi John (pre-drone strike) is running away, unarmed, and he's about to escape, you can shoot him in the back, even if he isn't posing an immediate threat to anybody.

I think the Mario Woods shooting is clearly legally justified, but it's one of those examples of how police could probably do better if they revised their tactics a bit. Yes, they absolutely could not let Woods keep walking through the neighborhood and wait for him to stab somebody else, but given how lethargically he was moving, why not just shoot him once in the abdomen and see if he falls over? (He probably would). I usually cringe when I hear "Why didn't they shoot him in the X [body part]?" or "Why did they shoot him Y [number of] times?", but that sounded like a firing squad. I know all the cops were on edge, and I understand contagious gunfire and all that, but damn, you'd think they could dial it down a notch. Even if shooting Woods once or twice would have killed him (which is far from certain), in the current climate, just for appearance's sake, cops would do well to not surround young African American men and fire 50 or 100 bullets at them when they can avoid it.

Peter Moskos said...

I was talking to reporter for a while about Wood's shooting. Once she mentioned that he had stabbed somebody else, that changed everything. Had that not been the case, perhaps you let the guy roam a bit. But given he has a knife and just used it? Yeah, you gotta contain him.
Imagine the uproar if cops let him move on and he cuts a second person? And then if he comes at you, you need to stop the threat. I have no problem with shooting him in that situation.
Ideally, might there have been a different outcome? Sure. But given that situation? You can't just let him keep going.

john mosby said...

Gents, I am just not seeing how you can distinguish McDonald so easily.

Okay, he hadn't stabbed anyone yet. But he stabbed a police car, he erratically ran/walked into traffic and toward more populated areas, and most importantly, he did not drop the knife. All he had to do to go home that day was ditch the knife (or never pull it out in the first place), and he could have disappeared into the night. No self-preserving cop or supervisor would have organized a manhunt for an unarmed attempted b&e auto guy. But once he has the knife and he shows such unpredictable behavior, then as the Prof says, you just can't let him keep going.

JSM

fh said...

Three stabbed in the London Underground AND terror related and the guy gets taken alive. There's something we can learn from the British about that.

john mosby said...

Anita Alvarez is live on TV right now explaining why she is not charging the PO's who shot Robert Johnson, who was fleeing CPD with a gun. Gotta give credit where it's due: Anita is thoroughly explaining the use-of-force law, including why it's sometimes ok to shoot someone in the back, and how fast a fleeing offender can turn into an attacking offender. She even showed video from a completely different case where a fleeing offender shot behind him while running - without even looking - and wounded a CPD officer. She had to show that one twice because of how fast it is. I'd definitely want her (or more likely the ASA's who briefed her) to represent me...

...I still don't understand how she can go from this to charging a cop with murder for shooting a noncompliant PCP knife guy who was 1 traffic lane width away from him....

JSM

campbell said...

Because under the current legal standards when you're wondering "can I shoot this person"...

"fleeing misdemeanor property crime suspect with a knife" = no

"fleeing shooting suspect with gun still in hand" = yes

bacchys said...

The reason we should believe the Chicago PD- who have been shown to have lied in the MacDonald case already- is???