A police killing and a school firing. Some Monday morning questions.


Andre Vasquez asks a good question.

“I’d like to hear the logic for explaining how someone who is thinking confrontation (or even running) pulls out their wallet and ID first.”

Not all the comments this weekend came from anonymous trolls. Even friends were questioning me after the few seconds of bodycam video with no audio were released.

But I am too aware of the double standard not to be skeptical of the police version of the killing of Snoop, the barber, Harith Augustus.

The Chicago Sun-Times:

The video contains no audio. As it begins, at least four officers approach Augustus. Guglielmi has said they approached because Augustus exhibited “characteristics of an armed person.”

“The characteristics of an armed person.”

Meanwhile, something jumped out at me in a WBEZ story of the firing of a CPS principal.

The firing of a respected Chicago elementary school principal is sparking controversy in the South Side neighborhood of Washington Park.

Teachers, parents, students, and prominent community members gathered in Burke Elementary School’s small auditorium earlier this week. They were demanding to know what principal Jessica Biggs did that was so bad that Chicago Public Schools decided to fire her and why they weren’t consulted. They worried that the firing was tied to Biggs’ role illuminating problems at the heart of scandals that rocked the school district this year.

Scroll down and there is this:

The community and Biggs also are surprised that she has no recourse. Through the six years that she lead Burke, she was kept as an interim principal, which means she was never given a contract and therefore was an at-will employee.

Kirby told the people gathered at Burke that all principals of probationary schools are kept at interim status. She also told them that the local school council —- an elected group of parents and community members that helps run a school —- can have no role in choosing the next principal. In fact, Biggs’ replacement has already been hired and is working at the school.

According to the most recent CPS data, about 100 schools have interim principals.

Through three decades of being a teacher and teacher union activist and local president I have been told that principals are the key to a school’s success.

I never bought it. But that is what I have been told.

A good principal is important (and we can discuss what that means), but just as important are teacher leaders, staff and parents that are involved in decision making.

Plus tons of other things characterize school success.

But according to this report CPS has 100 interim principals.

All the interim principals are in probationary schools.

Biggs had been an interim for six years.

How is that good?

4 thoughts on “A police killing and a school firing. Some Monday morning questions.

  1. Why would the victim…& I do mean victim…possibly be reaching for a gun?
    A reason the police are probably not trained for: fear for his life. Stopped for being black. Shot for being black. If you’re a black man, stand still (or lay down on the ground, as that child worker did, in Florida) & be shot. Attempt to run, or actually run, terrified for your life. Either way, you’re shot.;;and usually dead.

    I have been wondering, so often, just why police have been shooting to kill
    (“16 shots”); aren’t they trained (I believe they used to be), in this day & age, to shoot someone in the leg or a non-life-threatening area?

    Another human being dead, another life ended for no reason–a father, a brother, a son, a PERSON.
    I am sickened…

    1. I remember the first Mayor Daley order to police of “shoot to kill!” Ever since, in Chicago, it happens a lot. A probationary rookie cop panics, the FIRST thing they do is shoot to kill.

  2. I am tired of the CPD being criticized every time some asshole gets shot because he resisted arrest or pulled a gun or wielded a bat. So what if he had a kid? Cops don’t have kids? And of course these assholes are black and on the south side. How many white people pull guns on the cops on the north side? The last north side shooting I recall was when a black repeat offender killed Commander Paul Bauer in February. These are regular men and women who put their lives on the line every day to keep law and order. If I saw a guy/gal reaching for a gun, you can bet your ass I’m going to shoot him/her if I was a cop. If you think you can do better, join up. (I know you are too old.)

    1. None of what you describe are the proven facts in this case. The police should release the entire body cam video and be transparent. Besides, it is against the law for a police officer to use deadly force in the examples you list such as resisting arrest or wielding a bat. No gun, in this case, was pulled as far as can be seen in the body cam video that has been released. Sorry you are tired.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s