Mayor Emanuel stated today that there is no need for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the City of Chicago Law Department. This comes in the wake of sanctions against a City lawyer who lied about the evidence in a police shooting case.
Sound familiar? That’s because he said the same thing about the possibility of a DOJ investigation of the Police Department, a day before he reversed his position, and less than a week before the U.S. Attorney General announced that the DOJ would be investigating.
Here’s a comparison of his comments:
Then (December 2, 2015): “[The U.S. Attorney and FBI] are looking into this situation and all the aspects around it. I think an additional layer prior to the completion of this, in my view, would be misguided. And if you notice, they are doing a thorough job, given that they had the information two weeks after, just immediately after the incident. They are doing a thorough job, and hitting the restart button on a whole new investigation does not get you to the conclusion in an expedited fashion.”
Now (January 5, 2016): “Emanuel said that step is not needed to give Chicagoans confidence that necessary changes are being made.” Also, Emanuel said “Steve (Patton) has my support to make sure that this doesn’t happen again.”
Similarly, in both cases Emanuel downplayed the possibility of a broader problem or conspiracy by utilizing the ‘One Bad Apple’ storyline.
Then (November 23, 2015): “One individual needs to be held accountable. They need to be held accountable for what they’ve done,” Emanuel said. “And as I’ve said before, now that the judge has made the decision, I would like to see the prosecutors wrap up their investigation and make a decision, so we can go as a city and begin the process of healing.”
Now (January 5, 2016): “There is zero tolerance for violating not only the public trust but your professional standards and they’ll be no place for that. Once the decision was made, the lawyer and the City parted ways.”
Emanuel has repeatedly underestimated the impacts of police-related scandals in the past few weeks, and this has further fueled the backlash he’s been experiencing. We’ll see if that is the case here as well.