Last evening’s conversation between reporter Carol Marin and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle on Chicago Tonight left me nearly (but never totally) speechless.
Preckwinkle was an alderman for twenty years before she ran to replace the (surprise!) corrupt Todd Stroger. Todd is the son of the late (surprise!) corrupt Cook County Board President John Stroger, who died in office. In Chicago and Cook County we have more inherited thrones than the British House of Lords.
There were two things that struck me about this interview.
Carol Marin has been pretty good on digging into stories on bad cops.
But last night she seemed hung up on asking the African American County Board President about the failure of Chicago’s Black political leadership, as if the Mayor, the police Superintendent, the State’s Attorney and a majority of the City Council were African American.
This line of reasoning reminds me of how some in the media blamed Black voters for the re-election of Rahm Emanuel when the vote total of four lakefront white wards easily provided the margin of victory.
As if political and economic power in this city isn’t wealthy white power.
And then there was this:
“I have lived in Chicago for fifty years and I have always believed that the Chicago police could execute Black and Brown people without consequences,” said the President of the Cook County Board.
Marin simply proceeded to another question.
I turned to Anne. “Did she just say that?”
I hit the stop button and rew0und the DVR. I know. I didn’t really rewind the DVR. It is digital. But I still call it that.
Preckwinkle said it again. And also said that in 20 years on the City Council she never voted against a settlement in a police abuse case.
It is a rare admission by a Chicago elected official. Plus it was said with little emotion by Preckwinkle, until she sort of stuttered on the word, “execution”.
Marin and Preckwinkle went on to talk about the culture of silence in the Chicago Police Department.
They never discussed the culture of silence among Chicago’s elected officials.