Во всей этой бяке меня радует, что и на мэра есть управа. Что как они ни вертелся, как уж на сковородке, но ничего не мог поделать, и что вся эта переписка (порядка 3 тыс сообщений!) стала достоянием гласности.
Фотографии - из этой статьи.
Плакат: рыба тухнет с головы!
Текст статьи целиком.
The White House requested a briefing. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan called for a federal civil rights investigation but didn't give City Hall a heads up. The mayor's aides sought to head off blunt criticism by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Michael Pfleger. And the city's top attorney personally edited the mayor's statements.
These are some of the scenes that emerged from more than 3,000 pages of emails Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration released Thursday in response to open records requests about how it handled the high-profile police shooting of Laquan McDonald.
The documents, distributed as the public's attention was focused on celebrating New Year's, illustrate that the mayor's aides knew early on that the shooting could present a problem and show their full-on scramble to handle the issue once it became a major crisis for their boss.
As is typical for emails released by the Emanuel administration, many were heavily redacted, including a handful from the mayor himself in the days after City Hall publicly released a police dashboard camera video that showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald, an African-American teenager, in October 2014.
The emails show little communication between staffers and Emanuel's official city email account — and even fewer where a memo to him drew any kind of reply. The messages Emanuel wrote that were not blacked out contain just a few words, reading more like text messages.
"How we doing on body cams," the mayor wrote to communications director Kelley Quinn on Nov. 29, a few days after the McDonald video was released. Emanuel had proposed boosting the number of officers wearing the cameras as one of his first responses to the controversy.
Quinn answered that most area TV stations and a couple of news services had carried stories. Emanuel then told Quinn to find out whether any police department in the U.S. would have as many officers wearing cameras as Chicago once his proposal was fully in place.
"Will we lead the country," he asked.
Nearly a year before Emanuel was looking for ways to respond to the McDonald case, his top aides knew a video of the shooting existed, the emails show.
The Emanuel administration was aware the shooting could pose a problem as early as Dec. 8, 2014, when Scott Ando — then the head of the Independent Police Review Authority — sent an email to Janey Rountree, deputy chief of staff for public safety, linking to a press release in which two local watchdogs suggested video might contradict the union's claims that the officer's life was in danger.
About an hour after the email, a reporter contacted the city's Law Department about the claim. The department, which had first asked for copies of the dash-cam videos in November, agreed it wasn't its place to respond — at least not yet.
"This is not a lawsuit as of now," city attorney Liza Franklin wrote in an email to a half-dozen other people in the department.
The following morning, Stephen Patton — City Hall's top attorney — emailed Emanuel's then-chief of staff, senior adviser and others with an update on the McDonald situation. Though the teen's family had not yet filed a lawsuit, the city believed one was imminent.
"I have again asked our lawyers to be on the lookout for a complaint in that matter and to notify us immediately if and when a complaint is filed," Patton wrote.
While city attorneys waited, records released Thursday show attorneys for the McDonald family were subtly prepping their case. In November, they filed a claim in probate court and sent a subpoena to the city seeking files related to the shooting. In February, they sought "any and all" dash-cam videos.
It's unclear when the attorneys received the video and other records related to the shooting, but the corporation counsel seemingly was unaware anything had been turned over. After the McDonald family attorneys formally approached the city about a financial settlement on March 3, the corporation counsel's office sent an email to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications asking which specific documents and items had been tendered.
The city eventually reached a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family without a lawsuit being filed. The City Council approved the agreement in its first meeting after Emanuel was re-elected in April.
The emails released Thursday indicated the city initially wanted McDonald's family to agree not to release the shooting video until after criminal charges were concluded, but the family's attorney balked because it could have meant withholding the recording for years. The city agreed to modify the deal, allowing for the video's release if a court ordered it be made public before the investigation ended.
Emanuel did not publicly release the video until a Cook County judge ordered him to do so in November, ruling that the city had violated open records laws by withholding it. That ruling, combined with charges not being filed against Van Dyke until the day the video was released, have led activists to accuse Emanuel of attempting to cover up the incident, which the mayor has strongly denied.
Questions also have been raised about a roughly 80-minute gap in video taken from a security camera at a Burger King near the shooting scene. In late November, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said there was no evidence that video had been tampered with — though the Tribune later obtained footage showing a Chicago police employee working on the restaurant's computers after the shooting.
Documents released Thursday include an affidavit from the restaurant's information technology supervisor, who stated there were only two possible explanations for the gap: Someone intentionally deleted the footage or they inadvertently removed the files instead of copying them.
"I believe that a person with sophisticated knowledge of such video surveillance systems could delete video footage intentionally," the supervisor wrote.
An Emanuel aide also suggested the matter wasn't closed yet.
"People may assume there was a CPD cover-up or tampering with the video, and in both cases, those are subjects of the federal investigation," Rountree wrote in a email to several top aides Dec. 4.
On Nov. 19, the day the judge would rule against Emanuel on the McDonald video, emails show one of his speechwriters already was crafting a statement for the mayor to read if he were forced to release the video. A draft of the statement, which the mayor's office redacted, was sent eight minutes before a Law Department aide informed them of the judge's decision: "We lost."
The following weekend, Emanuel aides were preparing for the video's release when President Barack Obama's administration asked for more information on the case.
"Hope all is well and sorry for the Sunday email," wrote Elias Alcantara, the White House's associate director for intergovernmental affairs. "We've been tracking the media coverage of the Laquan McDonald case and would like an update. Do any of you have a min to jump on the phone and provide a update on the situation? Hoping to get an update to the team here later this afternoon."
Emanuel's senior adviser, David Spielfogel, responded, "Yes can update you later when I'm out of meetings. Around 3 your time?" Melissa Green, the head of Emanuel's Washington office, followed up by noting that the chief of staff to Attorney General Loretta Lynch also had been briefed.
That same weekend, Emanuel senior aides prepared the mayor for a Monday conference call with religious and community leaders, emails show. Various drafts of both the invitation and the script from which Emanuel would read during the call were sent around.
Patton, the city's top attorney, personally edited the mayor's remarks as well as various other talking points and letters sent out about the McDonald shooting, records show.
"In the sixth paragraph, I would not say that Laquan was 'wielding a knife.' He was carrying a knife," Patton wrote. "'Wielding' suggests he was threatening officers with it. He was not."
The draft remarks were redacted. The Tribune gained access to the call through a participant, and reported at the time that Emanuel called the shooting "profoundly hideous" and said "it's a shock to your conscience of what happened, and it should not have happened."
Prior to the call and meetings that day with community leaders, emails show Rountree, the deputy chief of staff, tried to make the case that the mayor needed to take a strong stance on the shooting, even though no charges had been filed in the case.
"Since it is almost certain this officer will face criminal charges, I would argue that the mayor needs to take this tone all week and it will be especially important in these meetings," Rountree wrote. "They are waiting to hear an emotional response from him. Think there could be serious risk if he doesn't."
As Chicago braced for the video release, aides discussed the idea of Emanuel taking part in a peaceful demonstration. The concept was raised by Graham Grady, an attorney at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, whom Patton described as "a leading African-American lawyer in town and a friend."
In an email, Grady suggested Emanuel convey a positive image, using as motivation the widely published photo that featured a picture of a smiling McDonald in a red graduation cap and gown.
"I love Chicago and I'm concerned that the city may erupt when and if the video gets out," Grady wrote. "What if the mayor and some community leaders such as Father Pfleger lead a peaceful demonstration with 100+ African-American youth wearing red mortar boards to symbolize education as the solution while also invoking the image of Laquan McDonald in a positive manner. You can get red mortar board caps for $10 bucks a piece. I'll pay for 100 of them."
Spielfogel and Clothilde Ewing, the mayor's chief of strategic messaging and planning, both liked the concept. "Not a bad idea," Spielfogel wrote. "We have five days to build community buy in and dialogue. We shouldn't waste a second." And though Patton wrote to thank his friend and tell him, "I really appreciate your offer and we may well take you up on it," the march never happened.
The emails show Emanuel's aides spent considerable time tracking media reports about the McDonald case and forwarding summaries of news articles and broadcasts to the mayor. At two different points, senior staffers took particular interest in critical remarks made by Jackson, the prominent civil rights activist, and Pfleger, the well-known Catholic priest and peace advocate.
Top aides asked Ken Bennett to call the religious leaders in an attempt to get them to soften their remarks, records show. Bennett, a deputy chief of staff who runs the mayor's public engagement office, called Pfleger after the priest insisted Emanuel fire Van Dyke to explain how the city had to wait out the legal process, and called Jackson after the minister criticized Emanuel's handling of the case, records show.
"I spoke with Rev. Jackson and I was clear that the U.S. Attorney and State's Attorney have been in control of this case for at least 11 months," Bennett wrote to other Emanuel staffers. "He said our silence regarding the video has hurt us."
Days after the video was released, Madigan sent a letter to the U.S. Justice Department asking for the Civil Rights Division to investigate Chicago police practices. The announcement, made late in the afternoon Dec. 1, caught Emanuel's top aides off guard.
"(Were) we given a heads up?" Quinn asked several colleagues, including Spielfogel, who forwarded the question to Green, Emanuel's D.C. lobbyist. Green responded, "By who. No."
The next day, hours after Emanuel called the idea of a federal civil rights probe "misguided," Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton endorsed it. The mayor quickly reversed his position.
Once news broke that the Department of Justice would launch an investigation, Emanuel's staff started reaching out to the mayor's old associates from his time as top adviser in President Bill Clinton's administration, records show.
The mayor's office enlisted the help of former Clinton press secretaries Joe Lockhart and Jake Siewert, as well as Joel Johnson, who was a Clinton senior adviser for policy and communications. Emanuel aides prepared a list of talking points for the trio and created a list of "surrogates" who could advocate for Emanuel in the media.
"Regarding the list of surrogates that we've compiled internally, I think the goal is to send it to Jake/Joe/Joel in the next few hours to get their feedback and for them to reach out to the talking heads to organize a call," mayoral press aide Stephen Spector wrote Dec. 6.
Two hours later, Spector sent an email titled "Following-up from Chicago" to the three former Clinton aides. Much of the email is redacted, but it suggests the trio were helping to shape the mayor's message as national criticism mounted.
"Thank you for taking the time out of your Sunday afternoon to speak with us. We greatly appreciate your insight," Spector wrote. "Moving forward, let (Ewing) and me know of any feedback that you may have, and feel free to route any folks our way."
An Emanuel spokeswoman said Thursday that none of the surrogates were under contract or paid in any way for their work.
An email from Quinn, Emanuel's communications director, illustrates the concern of press aides as to how the mayor was being portrayed nationally. Five days before Emanuel aides reached out to his Clinton associates, the New York Times published an editorial that was highly critical of the mayor.
"Well, I knew it'd be bad but this is ridiculous," Quinn wrote.
As Emanuel struggled with the fallout from the video, he fired police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. But after that was announced, the former top cop was still able to track developments through his city email account.
When the Emanuel administration sent out a statement Dec. 6 saying that CPD had no role in the McDonald investigation because it had referred the case to the police review board and federal authorities, McCarthy mocked it in an email to a few department employees and Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins.
"Good time to put this out!" McCarthy emailed six days after his firing. "Oh, wait. It's a week too late."