Tag Archives: Emanuel

Chicago to establish ID undocumented immigrants can obtain

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing the establishment of a municipal identification program that will allow people living in the U.S. illegally access to city services.

A proposed ordinance introduced Wednesday to Chicago’s City Council would allow the city clerk to review documents provided by applicants seeking an ID. However, the clerk’s office would be barred from collecting or keeping that information.

The measure is aimed at easing the fears of immigrants that President Donald Trump’s administration could use the information to try to track down and deport them.

Emanuel’s move comes as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatens to withhold federal money from cities that don’t cooperate with federal immigration agents.

Emanuel on Wednesday downplayed the move as a response to the Trump administration’s illegal immigration crackdown. He says the ID will represent Chicago’s values as a welcoming city.


Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Feds: Chicago cop training poor, misconduct investigations biased

(CHICAGO) The Justice Department’s probe of Chicago Police misconduct found the Independent Police Review Authority used biased techniques to investigate officers — and police received poor training at all levels, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

A review by the feds of more than 100 IPRA files revealed a consistent unwillingness to probe or dispute officers’ narratives, according to a source familiar with the DOJ’s findings. The report is also expected to point to specific use-of-force cases that revealed insufficient training in de-escalation techniques.

More broadly, the investigation found violations of the U.S. Constitution and federal law by officers when it comes to use of force, racial disparities as well as other systemic problems.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is expected to appear in Chicago at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Friday morning to announce the findings of the 13-month investigation of the Chicago Police Department. The Justice Department and City Hall have hammered out a pact, called a “statement of agreement,” which will detail remedies the city has already or will be taking to address problems that have ruptured relations between police and the people they serve, particularly minority communities.

It’s not known yet if that document will evolve into a more robust consent decree filed in federal court. The goal of the Justice Department is to help the city and federal government find ways to work together to improve trust.

With the Jan. 20 end of President Barack Obama’s term looming, Lynch wanted to wrap up police department probes in Baltimore and Chicago before her tenure ends. The first African-American female to lead the Justice Department has made a priority of improving police relations with the public.

The policing community has been bracing for days in anticipation of the report.

The attorney general will be accompanied by Vanita Gupta, head of the department’s civil-rights division. They will announce the results of the probe at a press conference alongside Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon, the top federal prosecutor in northern Illinois.

Lynch appeared in Baltimore on Thursday where police have committed to a sweeping overhaul of its practices under a court-enforceable agreement known as a consent decree.

One police official with knowledge of the feds’ Chicago investigation said he and his colleagues weren’t expecting much from the report that will be released Friday. “Our best guess is, look at Baltimore and do a find-and-replace,” he said.

CPD brass expect the report to be critical of how police conducted street stops, the police official said. “They’re going to say we violated people’s Constitutional rights but they won’t have any specifics,” he predicted. “They’re going to say we stopped people without justification, but they won’t have any examples of that. So it’s almost impossible to respond to it. We’re not going to be able to defend ourselves, and then we’re going to be left with having to deal with this.”

He said the report is also likely to stress that the department needs to provide more and better training, to add supervisors and to improve the system for investigating police shootings — all of which Emanuel and police officials have already pledged to do.

“They’ve given us some feedback on use-of-force policy and body-camera policies, but in a very aloof way — ‘We don’t want to tell you what to do, but you might want to do this.’ We adjusted some things, mostly because it was best practices.

“They’re not likely to tell us anything we don’t already know. And they’re not likely to say, ‘We’re revealing something new for the whole world to see.’ It’s going to be short on facts and long on implications.”

President-elect Donald Trump and his pick for attorney general, Jeff Sessions, are seen as far friendlier to rank-and-file police than the Obama administration, and there is speculation that the White House will not be interested in pursuing reform in Chicago after Jan. 20.

The Baltimore agreement was announced nearly two years after the DOJ began their probe of the police department in May 2015, after the death of Freddie Gray set off riots and looting in the city. The DOJ issued a scathing findings report in August, and it has spent six months negotiating the consent decree that was announced Thursday.

The Chicago investigation is wrapping up 13 months after DOJ officials announced the start of the probe in December 2015, and one week before Inauguration Day.

— Chicago Sun-Times

© Copyright 2017 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

Emanuel agrees to release private emails, ending court fight

(CHICAGO) In a surprise reversal that ends a marathon legal battle, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has agreed to release a virtual “treasure trove” of his private emails and ban city employees from using their private emails to conduct city business, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Emanuel’s year-end change of heart follows a parade of Freedom of Information requests denied by the city and lawsuits filed by the Better Government Association and the Chicago Tribune.

It also follows more than a year of litigation and two court rulings against the city by Circuit Court judges who maintained that the emails of public officials cannot escape Freedom of Information requests simply because they are on a private email account.

The lengthy legal battle was contrary to Emanuel’s campaign promise to shine the light on city government and run a transparent administration.

Going forward, Emanuel vowed to implement a new city policy that prohibits city employees from “using their private or other non-city email accounts for the transaction of public business.”

The policy will be spelled out in writing to all city employees. It will instruct city employees that, if they receive an email pertaining to city business on a non-city account, the email must be promptly forwarded to the city email account. Failure to comply with the new policy “may subject the employee or officials to discipline.”

To underscore his commitment to the new policy, Emanuel released his private emails after the close of business on Wednesday. The massive information dump was reminiscent of what he did last New Year’s Eve with information pertaining to the police shooting of Laquan McDonald and other controversial police shootings.

BGA President and CEO Andy Shaw welcomed the agreement, even as he acknowledged that it should not have taken this long to persuade Emanuel to honor his promise to be transparent.

“This is a major victory in the fight for transparency at City Hall. It gives us access to information that the public is entitled to. And the policy change should make it clear that you cannot use a private email account to avoid transparency,” Shaw said.

“That’s what officials from Hillary Clinton [on down] around the country have done. Private email accounts can’t be a vehicle to circumventing public disclosure. I think we’ve established that principle in Chicago with this settlement. It’s a long expensive process to accomplish something that should have been done because it’s the right thing to do.”

Shaw said he won’t know what there is to learn from the mayor’s emails until he reads them. But, he said, “This is a treasure trove of information. I mean — thousands of emails. We’re gonna go through `em and find out what we learn. Even if we don’t learn anything that’s breaking news, we will have established an important precedent. You can’t use private email accounts to hide public business.”

In a press release issued late Wednesday, Emanuel was quoted as saying, “I’m pleased that we were able to come to a reasonable agreement with the Better Government Association today to ensure that transparency keeps up with technology and the realities of modern communication. The new standard we have set clarifies questions not just for me, but for all of Chicago’s 30,000 employees.”

— Chicago Sun-Times

Chicago Mayor Heads to Rome

By Bill Cameron, WLS-AM 890 News

(CHICAGO) Mayor Emanuel is off to Rome today, leading a delegation to see Pope Francis make Chicago Archbishop Cupich a Cardinal this weekend​.

More than 80 are on this Vatican junket because the mayor says it’s “a special moment for” Chicago.

“At a time where voices of intolerance are becoming accepted, we have a Cardinal who speaks to tolerance. In a time in which exclusion is becoming more of a norm, we have an Archbishop elevated to becoming a Cardinal that speaks to inclusion,” said Mayor Emanuel.

So who pays for the junket? Mayor Emanuel says city-funded World Business Chicago out of private donations.

© WLS-AM 890 News

Lawsuit seeks to block Emanuel’s red-light camera do-over

(CHICAGO) Mayor Rahm Emanuel should be stopped in his tracks from giving 1.5 million motorists a red-light camera ticket do-over because his after-the-fact fix to a problem with those tickets violates state law, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Two months after the City Council agreed to give drivers nailed by red-light and speed cameras a second chance to challenge their tickets, plaintiffs’ attorney Jacie Zolna wants a Cook County judge to overturn the ordinance, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

A judge has ruled — and the city has acknowledged — that it denied due process to the 1.5 million motorists by failing to send those drivers a second notice of their violations. The Emanuel administration further erred by imposing $100 late fees.

In September, aldermen agreed to correct those “procedural errors” in hopes it would bolster the city’s case against a lawsuit with the potential to force the city to refund $200 million in fines and late fees dating back to the 2003 inception of the scandal-scarred red-light camera program.

The lawsuit maintains the mayor’s ordinance is “at odds with virtually every procedural requirement” of the Illinois Vehicle Code and “completely undermines its purpose to ensure the ‘fair and efficient’ adjudication” of speed and red light camera violations.

“The city . . . cannot willy-nilly change its own laws to give itself a second opportunity to extract fines and penalties from its citizens. To the contrary, the city’s ability to enforce speed and red-light camera violations is specifically limited by Illinois law,” the lawsuit states.

Law Department spokesman Bill McCaffrey called the lawsuit “baseless.”

“It is clear that the notices of violation for each of the violations affected by the 2016 ordinance are valid under the Illinois Vehicle Code and the Municipal Code of Chicago, and the suit is challenging an ordinance that can only benefit the individuals represented in the suit,” McCaffrey said in an email.

“The new ordinance is not to designed to find any new violations of the traffic laws, but to give past violators an additional opportunity to challenge previously imposed liability.”

If the city issues second notices, motorists will have 30 days to choose whether to appear before an administrative hearing officer and challenge their tickets on grounds they were issued in error.

The five-year window — March 23, 2010, to May 14, 2015 — is tied to the statute of limitations and the date the city eliminated the second notice requirement in yet another, after-the-fact attempt to avoid liability.

The ordinance would also allow roughly 5,000 motorists who paid late fees too soon to get $100 refunds for those penalties paid in error. Those motorists would be given 60 days to make that request.

In September, Corporation Counsel Steve Patton contended the ordinance would “bolster our defense” and could “form the basis for a fair and reasonable settlement.” But he has maintained that a “procedural failure does not render a ticket invalid” and that there is no justification for blanket refunds.

“Those tickets are valid. The violation occurred. The red light was run. Somebody sped unless and until they go the Department of Administrative Hearings and show that’s not the case,” Patton told aldermen.

“What we’re talking about is a subsequent procedural error. And it shouldn’t be the opportunity for a gotcha to have a windfall for thousands and thousands of people to avoid any liability and get a refund.”

Zolna and his partner Myron Cherry have branded the ordinance “too little, too late” that will only invite more litigation and “add another chapter” to a red-light program built on a $2 million bribery scandal.

“For over a decade, the city failed to follow their own rules in providing people the proper notice. Then, they sped up liabilities and doubled fines prematurely. And here we are again. They get caught with their hands in the cookie jar, and all they want to do is keep changing the rules,” Zolna said.

“If they enforce this law, and try to collect under it, we’ll be able to recover that money. What you have now are two lawsuits that involve somewhere in the neighborhood of $500 million. While the law generally doesn’t allow a double recovery, the way the city worded this new ordinance by creating new and separate liabilities leaves open the possibility that there could be two judgments for the same amount.”

Eddie Johnson with Big John and Ray:  More cops just “a piece of the puzzle.”

By John Dempsey, WLS-AM News

(CHICAGO) Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was on WLS this morning, talking about Mayor Emanuel’s multi-faceted crime-fighting strategy.    Johnson told “The Big John and Ray Show” that he agrees with Emanuel that while the city  more needs police officers , police are not the only answer.   “You know these extra officers and the police in general, you know we’re a piece of this puzzle but not the entire puzzle. The violence in our city and the crime overall is a result of socio-economic ills , not the police department.  So we have to fix the other parts of it in order for this crime to come down, but I will say this, the additional officers will give us a bit of relief.”

Listen to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on WLS’ Big John and Ray Show here. 

In his long awaited crime control speech Thursday night, Emanuel pledged to hire more officers, but was not clear on how the city would pay for them.    Johnson told WLS he does not have that answer either, but he says he’s not supposed to.    “You know, I fight crime” Johnson said,  “At the end of the day you know, I am a cop.  So that’s what I do, so the financial part of it you know, I’ll leave it to the Mayor and his smart people over there at the hall.  He has assured me that we’ll have those resources but how they’re paying for it, I couldn’t tell you.”

In his speech at Malcolm X college, Emanuel also talked about implementing a three year mentoring program to provide support to over 7,000 at-risk youth in Chicago.   The Mayor also called on Illinois lawmakers to toughen penalties for gun crimes, something black lawmakers from Chicago have thwarted in the past, out of concern that harsher gun laws would unfairly target African-Americans.

Eddie Johnson told WLS he is currently talking with those lawmakers about drafting a law that would address the real need the city has to make sure repeat offenders are kept behind bars for longer periods of time.    “I think that the legislators are coming around now because before we didn’t have concealed carry and you know the sentencing that I’m looking for is not mandatory.  It’s focused at repeat gun offenders so that’s not casting a net over the minority population.  It’s more like using a spear to focus on the guys that are consistently telling us they don’t want to play by the rules of society.   The way we want it to go is that repeat gun offenders would be sentenced on the mid to high end range of sentencing as opposed to giving them lighter sentences.”

During the WLS interview, Johnson admitted that police morale has suffered in recent months.    “We swore an oath to protect the citizens of Chicago and I see the rank and file doing that, however I will say this; the level of disrespect and then just the scrutiny going on across the country in terms of law enforcement is tough.  They are keenly aware of that and no one wants to be the next viral video and let’s face facts.   They’re human, they have families to take care of and careers so they are aware of what’s going on but they are still engaged and our gun arrests bear that out, but they are concerned about what’s going on.”

Johnson ended the interview by saying he has no regrets about taking the Superintendent’s job, despite the pressure and stress.   “You know I enjoy my job.  I have a chance to make real change and impact the citizens of Chicago for the better and also the rank and file, so I love what I do.”

@ 2016 WLS-AM News


Chicago Police sued in shooting death of black teen

.By John Dempsey

(CHICAGO) The mother of a 16 year old black teenager shot dead by Chicago Police April 11th, is filing a federal lawsuit against the City of Chicago and two unnamed police officers.

The lawsuit from the mother of 16-year old Pierre Loury also cites findings from Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s task force on police accountability, which found inherent racism in the department, and found that Chicago police have “no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.”

​Police First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante has said Loury ran away from a car that officers had pulled over because it matched the description of a vehicle used in an earlier shooting.

​Escalante also said that during the foot chase, Loury turned and aimed at gun at an officer, who then fired the shots that killed him.

An autopsy showed the teen was shot in the chest.   Police called Loury a documented gang member, and said they recovered a semi-automatic weapon at the scene.

Loury had also posted a photo of himself online holding a gun, and wearing a gang tattoo on his neck. ​

The lawsuit filed in Chicago Federal Court also accuses police of conspiring with one another to lie about what happened during the incident.


@ 2016 WLS News

Not Everyone Wants Rahm Out

By Nick Gale, WLS News

(CHICAGO) There was another protest in Chicago Friday, but not everyone there called for the mayor’s ouster.

Clergy, community leaders and the Rainbow Push Coalition gathered outside of City Hall, marching around it seven times and calling for change. At several points, they stopped and counted to 16; the number of times 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was shot by a police officer, the shooting captured on dash-cam video.

Unlike many others, Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin did not call for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down, but called for an expansion of the U.S. Justice Department investigation.

“We’re hoping that truth will come down and that the federal government will expand their investigation beyond the Chicago Police Department and also include Homan Square and the mayor’s office and what the mayor knew and when he knew it,” Boykin said.

Listen to Nick Gale’s report for WLS News:


He says the mayor can take this opportunity and make real change within the city. Boykin also wants to see the investigation expanded to include Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.

@ 2015 WLS News

Mayor Emanuel Fires Police Superintendent McCarthy

Courtesy Photo; Chicago Police Department
Courtesy Photo; Chicago Police Department


By John Dempsey, WLS News

(CHICAGO) Embattled Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is out, a victim of the public outcry after last week’s release of a police dashboard camera video showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year old Laquon McDonald to death, firing 16 shots into the teenager’s body.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced McCarthy’s departure this morning, saying that despite many positive things McCarthy has accomplished, in light of the video’s release, “The public trust and the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded.   This morning I formally asked for (McCarthy’s) resignation.    Now is the time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges the department and our community and our city are facing, as we go forward”.

Emanuel says 1st Deputy Police Chief John Escalante will serve as interim Police Superintendent, until a permanent replacement for McCarthy is found.  The firing came after McCarthy went on several television morning programs including WLS-TV ABC 7, and said he would not resign in the face of the public pressure he’s been feeling.

“No, I’m not going to resign.   I’m not going to give up on this city, I’m not going to give up on the good people of Chicago, and I’m certainly not going to give up on the Chicago Police Department.  I believe absolutely that there is a very large sector of the community who supports me.   I hear it all day long, every single day.  Honestly, every place I go people are saying things like, ‘stay strong, stay tough, we’ve got your back'”.

Listen to City Hall reporter Bill Cameron’s report for WLS News radio:

Despite taking steps to modernize the department, Emanuel says Garry McCarthy “has become an issue rather than dealing with the issue, and that’s a distraction”.

Emanuel also announced the creation of a five member police task force to advise him on ways to improve the relationship with the Police Department and the community, saying “The shooting of Laquan McDonald requires more than just words,” Mayor Emanuel said. “It requires that we act; that we take more concrete steps to prevent such abuses in the future, secure the safety and the rights of all Chicagoans, and build stronger bonds of trust between our police and the communities they’re sworn to serve.”

The task force will include:

Former Federal Prosecutor Sergio Acosta.

Former Federal Prosecutor and Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson.

Former Chicago Police Deputy Superintendent and former Illinois State Police Director Hiram Grau.

Former Federal Prosecutor and Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot.

University of Chicago Law School Professor and former Cook County Public Defender Randolph Stone.

Former Massachusetts Governor and Chicago native Deval Patrick will serve as a senior advisor to the task force. Patrick also served as U.S. Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division under President Bill Clinton.

Emanuel wants the task force to present it’s recommendations to the City Council by March 31, 2016.

@ 2015 WLS News


Emanuel: An Unyielding Mayor

By Bill Cameron, WLS News

In an interview with Bill Cameron…Mayor Emanuel is unyielding about the major objection aldermen are raising against his city budget proposal.

In city budget hearings there’s been quite a lot of push-back from the aldermen against the mayor’s plan to privatize the 3-1-1 non-emergency call center. So, I asked the mayor if he’s open to change.

“A modernized 3-1-1 is essential for the effectiveness and of our neighborhood services that we want to see.  So, I’ve laid out what I think is essential to make sure that everything we’re doing on our budget, uh, and the investments that we’re making the quality of life we want to see in our neighborhoods – that 3-1-1 is part of that modernization,” said Mayor Emanuel.

Bill Cameron:  “They’re afraid that jobs are going to go away?”

Emanuel responds:  “Well, the people will have to, uh, staff it and we think this is the right thing to do and I’ve made my proposal and I think it’s the right thing to do.  My budget is pretty clear, Bill, about what I’m going to do.”

But behind the scenes, some of the aldermen are hoping the proposal is a red-herring which the mayor will pull back later.

@ Copyright 2015 WLS News

Judge orders teen charged with attacking mayor’s son held in custody

(Chicago)  A Cook County juvenile court judge ordered the teen charged with mugging Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s son be held in custody given the boy’s frequent contact with law enforcement.

Cook County Judge Lori Wolfson noted that the teen had frequent contact with the court system, the Sun-Times is reporting. He has been arrested 11 times and has had 32 contacts with the Chicago Police Department, authorities said.

The 18-year-old also was found guilty in October of possession of a stolen motor vehicle and was sentenced to one year of probation.

The teen, whose name was not released, was arrested Saturday for the Dec. 19 robbery of Zach Emanuel in the 4200 block of North Hermitage, Chicago Police announced Saturday night.

He “confessed to the crimes he committed” and is charged as a juvenile with robbery and aggravated battery in the public way, according to a police statement. He was 17 at the time the crime is alleged to have been committed.

His trial date for the mugging is March 9.

His parents left juvenile court Monday without comment.