One year ago, a black knife-wielding teenager, who also had PCP in his system, was killed by a Chicago police officer. The police officer was not charged until nearly a year after the incident, and the police camera video of the shooting was released only after a FOIA lawsuit forced its release a year later. Oh, and a $5 million settlement to the dead teenager’s family already had been approved.
Thousands of protesters gathered Sunday in Chicago’s Magnificent Mile to harass shoppers and block entrances to such retailers as Apple, Neiman Marcus, and Cartier. The protesters’ chanting of “16 shots” was in reference to the number of times the police officer shot the young man.
The question isn’t whether the officer was justified in shooting the young man 16 times, but whether he was justified in shooting him once. As NRO’s Kevin D. Williamson writes, “Lethal force is lethal force, and the standard practice in most police departments is to aim for the target’s center mass and keep firing. Chicago police commonly carry the Glock 17 pistol, which has a magazine capacity of 19 rounds. If the first shot was justified, then 16 shots were justified.”
But the more difficult question that needs answering is whether there is justification for the way in which Rahm Emanuel, former right hand to President Barack Obama, has handled this episode? According to Rev. Jesse Jackson, the Emanuel administration “sat on the tape for more than a year, buried the killing in an unending investigation, gave the officer a pass, and got through the elections.”
But as Mr. Williamson notes, this is where progressive urban governance leads:
The combination of over-promising and under-delivering, corruption, institutional ineffectiveness, and clientelist politics ruptures the relationship between so-called public servants and the public they purport to serve. Chicago isn’t Detroit or Cleveland: It isn’t some lost city that has in effect been left to weed over. But employing the same kinds of institutional approaches with the same values and the same assumptions will produce — surprise — the same results. The Jesse Jacksons of the world instinctively respond by threatening to immiserate the functional parts of Chicago. But Jackson et al. shouldn’t be leading a march on the high-end retail district — they should be leading a march on the Democratic-party headquarters, which is the actual locus of malice in this sorry affair.
Chicago is plagued with rampant crime, corruption, dysfunctional schools, unsatisfactory public services from transit to sanitation, which should be fertile ground for Republicans and conservatives. Read more from Kevin Williamson here.