Police politics | Bleader

Police politics

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Mayor Daley doesn't think much of the move by 28 aldermen to go to court to get the city to cough up the list of cops with the most citizen complaints--the other day he pulled a Richard Nixon and accused them of kicking the police when they're down.  

And earlier this week he reportedly pulled aside one of the aldermen and warned him that his political career would suffer as a result. Alderman Howard Brookins Jr., alderman of the 21st Ward, said the mayor told him that he may blow his chance to win the Democratic primary for Cook County state's attorney if he continued to push for publicizing the cop list. "The mayor told me I shouldn't have signed on to the resolution," Brookins said. "He said it wouldn't go over well in the 'ethnic community.'"

Meaning white people. Brookins, who is black, told the story with a chuckle. He's clearly decided that his best bet to win the nomination is to increase his attacks on police misconduct, thus firing up African-Americans and liberal whites. It's not a bad strategy in a primary pitting just one black candidate--him--against a Latina and three white guys: prosecutor Robert Milan, Cook County commissioner Larry Suffredin, and 38th Ward alderman Tom Allen--who, like most of his "ethnic" northwest- and southwest-side colleagues, didn't join the effort to get the complaint list made public.

Still, even some Daley allies who would never utter a critical word about the police in public are anxious for the mayor to settle on a long-term leader for the department. While one alderman, the Ninth Ward's Anthony Beale, publicly called for interim superintendent Dana Starks to get the permanent job during budget hearings last week, most others were effusive in praising the department and silent about Starks himself.

Daley rejected the last list of superintendent candidates forwarded to him by the Chicago Police Board, the group of mayoral appointees responsible for starting the superintendent hiring process and hearing certain police disciplinary appeals. Demetrius Carney, the board's president, said this week that the next group of names is almost ready. "My search firm is giving me me a new notebook of candidates on Monday [November 5]," he said.

Carney sounded tired of the superintendent search and questions about who's going to be considered and who isn't. "Everybody's asking me about it," he said. "I tell them, 'I don't know, and I don't even want to know.'"

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