Rahm: Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion threat to con­sent de­cree ‘ain’t on the level’

Chicago Sun-Times - - TOP NEWS - BY FRAN SPIEL­MAN, CITY HALL RE­PORTER fspiel­man@suntimes.com | @fspiel­man Con­tribut­ing: Lynn Sweet

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wed­nes­day sloughed off as a mean­ing­less po­lit­i­cal stunt the U.S. Jus­tice De­part­ment’s threat to op­pose a con­sent de­cree out­lin­ing the terms of fed­eral court over­sight over the Chicago Po­lice De­part­ment.

Emanuel said he has “work to do” and doesn’t have the time or the pa­tience to worry about a le­gal ob­jec­tion that has no more weight than a so-called “am­i­cus brief ” filed by an­other at­tor­ney or any other in­ter­ested party.

The mayor was so an­noyed by the fil­ing, he ac­cused re­porters of be­ing “played” by por­tray­ing the DOJ as “in­ter­ven­ing.”

The Sun-Times never men­tioned the DOJ was in­ter­ven­ing in Tues­day’s story.

“You said ‘in­ter­vene.’ They’re not. They’re writ­ing ba­si­cally the equiv­a­lent of a small am­i­cus brief. And you guys — even in the sto­ries — ac­knowl­edged it has only sym­bolic value,” Emanuel said.

“You guys got to stop act­ing like Pavlo­vian lit­tle mice chas­ing ev­ery time Don­ald Trump says some­thing. It doesn’t have any value. We’ve got real work to do fight­ing crime, mak­ing our streets safe, ed­u­cat­ing our kids and grow­ing our econ­omy. This ain’t on the level. How many times have you seen this? How many times have you re­ported on a tweet? And what have you seen? Come on.”

The Jus­tice De­part­ment de­clined to com­ment on Emanuel’s re­marks.

The mayor said he sees zero chance that the DOJ can stop a train that is al­ready leav­ing the sta­tion.

The city spent the bet­ter part of a year ne­go­ti­at­ing a con­sent de­cree with out­go­ing Illi­nois At­tor­ney Gen­eral Lisa Madi­gan af­ter Madi­gan filed a law­suit against the city to force the is­sue.

That agree­ment is now be­fore a fed­eral judge, who is ex­pected to choose a fed­eral mon­i­tor­ing team to ride herd over the Chicago Po­lice De­part­ment by year’s end.

U.S. District Judge Robert Dow re­cently shot down a bid by the Fra­ter­nal Order of Po­lice to in­ter­vene in the case, and the FOP is ap­peal­ing.

Emanuel ap­peared to be supremely con­fi­dent that a Trump Jus­tice De­part­ment with which he once tried to ne­go­ti­ate a me­moran­dum of un­der­stand­ing un­til Madi­gan forced his hand will be shot down as well.

“They’re fil­ing the equiv­a­lent of a small am­i­cus brief. You know the game — and you’re get­ting played,” he ad­mon­ished re­porters.

“We’ve got real work to do. We’re gonna be in front of a judge. We’re com­mit­ted to the re­forms. We’re com­mit­ted to see­ing ’em through. There isn’t any­thing here.”

If the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is truly con­cerned about help­ing Chicago in its nev­erend­ing bat­tle against gun vi­o­lence, Emanuel said, “Pass the Brady Bill. Pass the as­sault weapon ban. Help stop the guns from In­di­ana, Wis­con­sin, Ken­tucky and South­ern Illi­nois from com­ing onto the streets of Chicago.”

FOP Pres­i­dent Kevin Gra­ham has branded the con­sent de­cree “il­le­gal and in­valid.”

Union lead­ers don’t want a con­sent de­cree for fear it would tie the hands of po­lice of­fi­cers and sub­ject even le­git­i­mate polic­ing to un­war­ranted scru­tiny.

On Wed­nes­day, the union is­sued a state­ment ap­plaud­ing the DOJ’s im­pend­ing court fil­ing.

“We are ex­ceed­ingly grate­ful that Pres­i­dent Trump and AG Ses­sions are op­pos­ing this con­sent de­cree,” the union state­ment said.

“It is noth­ing more than a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated law­suit that spelled catas­tro­phe for the ci­ti­zens of Chicago and its po­lice of­fi­cers. Pres­i­dent Trump and AG Ses­sions have shown great courage and have the full sup­port of the Fra­ter­nal Order of Po­lice.”

Rep. Raja Kr­ish­namoor­thi, D-Ill., said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day he will use his po­si­tion on the House Over­sight Com­mit­tee “to pur­sue a re­view of this and other ac­tions taken by At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ses­sions to sab­o­tage po­lice re­form. We need to let lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and re­form ad­vo­cates work to­gether to solve the prob­lems that plague the CPD with­out fed­eral of­fi­cials pre­vent­ing such com­pro­mises.”

Sen. Tammy Duck­worth, D-Ill., said in a state­ment, “This an­nounce­ment from At­tor­ney Gen­eral Ses­sions is yet an­other item in a long list of coun­ter­pro­duc­tive ef­forts from an ad­min­is­tra­tion that seems more fo­cused on pan­der­ing to its base with hate­ful poli­cies than ac­tu­ally re­duc­ing crime and im­prov­ing po­lice re­la­tions with the com­mu­ni­ties they serve.”

“THEY’RE WRIT­ING BA­SI­CALLY THE EQUIV­A­LENT OF A SMALL AM­I­CUS BRIEF. AND YOU GUYS — EVEN IN THE STO­RIES — AC­KNOWL­EDGED IT HAS ONLY SYM­BOLIC VALUE.”

MAYOR RAHM EMANUEL, on the Jus­tice Dept.’s op­po­si­tion to the city’s pend­ing con­sent de­cree

SUN-TIMES FILE PHOTO

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Po­lice Supt. Ed­die John­son dis­cuss the com­ple­tion of a con­sent de­cree on po­lice re­form at the Thomp­son Cen­ter last month.

Pres­i­dent Trump

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