Opinion: Police unfairly targeted in new Illinois laws and politics in Palos
Police are again being unfairly targeted in legislation that strips away their “qualified immunity” and exposes them to unjustified and frivolous lawsuits, while the legislators who are stripping them of protection continue to enjoy “qualified immunity” for their actions … and the Cook County Republican Organization continues to burn as its leader Sean Morrison fiddles with personal, self-serving politics. This weeks column in The Regional News Newspaper and SW News Newspaper Group
By Ray Hanania
The Illinois legislature is considering yet another bill to hogtie Police making it easier for criminals to commit crimes and putting the burden of suffering entirely on the backs of victims.
Cook County States Attorney Kim Foxx, playing race politics, increased the minimum monetary value of theft, basically eliminating punishment for anyone who steals under $1,000. Criminals recognize they can get away so much more in Cook County.
The latest effort seeks to strip Illinois Police Officers of their “qualified immunity” exposing them to frivolous lawsuits simply for doing their jobs.
Of course, in the height of hypocrisy, the bill allows public employees and elected officials to continue to enjoy their privileged and much stronger “qualified immunity.”
When a police officer walks into a threatening and dangerous circumstance, and makes a mistake, they will no longer be protected. The few Police who actually break the law are not protected. Under the new law, all Police will be treated like criminals, and the criminals like the victims.
Police will be forced to not only deal with lawsuits for doing their jobs, but they will also be vulnerable personally making one wonder why anyone would want to be a police officer. Why not just allow the crime-ridden communities to protect themselves?
Cook County and Illinois have made it perfectly clear victims of crime no longer have rights. Those rights, under the new law, belong to the poor, oppressed and “misunderstood” criminals. The criminals are the ones who need protection from the law abiding homeowners, motorists who they carjack, or store owners who are barely surviving under the pandemic.
COOK COUNTY’S GOP FUMBLE
Two years ago Sean Morrison came within 1,377 votes of losing his Cook County Board seat to a first-time challenger, far leftwing “Our Revolution” candidate Abdelnasser Rashid.
Had Rashid been a centrist Democrat, Morrison would have lost by a landslide. I supported Morrison because Rashid represented the extremist politics driving anti-policing laws that threaten concerns of Southwest Suburban homeowners.
This week, Morrison showed his true colors as Chairman of the Cook County Republicans when he ignored their interests in elections in the county’s 30 Townships. Instead, he endorsed in only two Townships, his own in Palos Township and in two non-partisan races in Orland Township. It’s a slap in the face of every Republican, the sign of poor leadership. The endorsement is posted on the Official Cook County Township GOP website, as well as on his own Palos Township website.
Morrison endorsed the “Machine slate” orchestrated by Orland Park’s Mayor Keith Pekau. Pekau won office by denouncing his predecessor for raising the mayor’s salary from $40,000 to $150,000. Once in office, however, Pekau took the $150,000 annual salary himself, $600,000 over four years from the taxpayers as parttime mayor.
Instead of standing up for taxpayers, or Republicans countywide, Morrison decided backed Pekau and opposed the taxpayer’s choice, former Mayor Dan McLaughlin. He also endorsed the controversy-plagued slate challenging Orland Township Supervisor Paul O’Grady.
What Morrison forgets is most suburban Democrats are former Republicans who identify as “Reagan Democrats.” They abandoned the Republican Party because the Republican Party abandoned them when it embraced extremist rightwing extremists.
The only Republicans to do well were those like Morrison’s predecessor Liz Gorman, a centrist moderate who eschewed the extremism on both sides, right and left. Gorman has the skills to build consensus to get things done for taxpayers, blocking several major tax increases, a trait Morrison and the $600,000 Mayor Keith Pekau lack.
Morrison’s betrayal exposes his weakness. Any moderate challenger will easily unseat him in the next election, if his district survives redistricting. Defeating Morrison puts another nail in the coffin of extremist fanaticism of the Tea Party and far right, and maybe salvaging the County’s anemic County Republican party.
It’s shocking how silent the GOP Township committeemen about Morrison not endorsing anyone in the other Township races, only the ones that serve Morrison.
Cook County needs diversity in political views. Politics is not divided by Republicans and Democrats but by moderates and extremists.
Endorsing Pekau is the clearest way for Morrison to show his embrace of extremism in the April 6 election. Morrison claims this is about “empowering the Republican party,” but that’s a big joke in Illinois in part thanks to him.
Elected officials need to empower moderate voices – Republicans or Democrats – those who know how to build consensus to fight higher taxation, to stand unwavering by our police, and to increase government services to taxpayers, not empower themselves.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. This column was originally published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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