Mr. Mayor, I apologize.
Late Wednesday, I had a conversation that helped me realize I was wrong to accuse Rahm Emanuel of using Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson as a human shield to maintain the illusion that the Police Department is separate from his administration in order to keep the feds from sniffing around City Hall.
That can't be the reason Emanuel has refused to live up to his promise to hold accountable every single police officer who lied to cover up what really happened when Officer Jason Van Dyke fired all 16 bullets in his gun at Laquan McDonald until the black teenager was dead.
Our mayor is just trying to save himself. Let me explain.
In December, Emanuel called a special City Council meeting to give the biggest political speech in Chicago history.
On that day, the mayor of Chicago stepped to the microphone, and consequences be damned, told the truth — a code of silence does exist in the Police Department.
I praised Emanuel for that speech because it was the right thing to do for Chicagoans.
But, as things turned out, speaking the truth might not have been so good for Emanuel.
Since he made that heroic speech, civil rights attorneys have been lining up to get Emanuel on the witness stand to talk about the “Thin Blue Line" code of silence that harbors dirty cops on the Police Department.
In May, just as a judge was considering whether to force Rahm to testify about the code of silence in a case brought by a couple of officers who say they were blackballed for blowing the whistle on police corruption, city lawyers made history.
They admitted — on the record in court for the first time ever — that Chicago cops observe a “code of silence” to cover for each other.
That apparently wasn't enough for the federal judge overseeing the case, Gary Feinerman, to give Emanuel a pass on having to testify in court.
Remember what happened 11 days later. City Attorney Steve Patton settled the case for $2 million, which is a lot of taxpayer money but not an admission of guilt.
That legal move — whether it influenced the decision to settle the case or not — saved Emanuel from the witness stand.
For then, at least.
A top city source who knows about these things told me civil rights attorneys suing the city over police misconduct — as many as two dozen — have been adding the mayor to their witness lists because he publicly declared the Police Department code of silence was real.
Emanuel rang that bell of truth about the police code of silence that he can’t unring, ever.
Now, there is a high likelihood that every word Emanuel says about the Police Department can and will be used by civil rights attorneys to get the mayor to testify under oath, where one false statement could land any guy — even Chicago’s boss — in the clink.
If Emanuel wants a shot at saving himself from the witness stand he has been advised to adopt a self-imposed code of silence — Wednesday he called it a “Chinese Wall” — on matters related to the Police Department code of silence, a source told me.
That makes total sense to me.
I’m sorry for suggesting otherwise.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: