He presided over a hastily arranged press conference this morning to announce a shuffle over at City Hall: Former Police Chief Michael McGrath will earn a raise a become the new public safety director, and former Deputy Chief Calvin Williams will earn a raise and ascend to McGrath's old post. When asked about the element of race in his decision-making (McGrath is white; Williams is black; city leaders have called for more diversity at the top), Jackson emphasized that there was more to the decision than that:
"Diversity is always important. The fact that [Flask and McGrath] were two white men at the head of the division of police was not the point of the decision. They ensured a semblance of justice in some very difficult times. It did provide an opportunity, however...Chief Williams is not chief because he's black. Chief Williams is chief because he's the most qualified person for the job."
OK. But let's home in here on Jackson's latest eye-opener.
They ensured a semblance of justice in some very difficult times.
"Semblance" is such an interesting choice of words here, because it really shines a light on what City Hall thinks is going on - namely, nothing. Here's a quick definition of the word: "the outward appearance or apparent form of something, esp. when the reality is different."
It's unclear if that was what Jackson intended, but he's a mayor who's repeatedly (foolishly?) stood by his words over the years. This is just one more.
The news as a whole - the police department's half-baked reorganization - comes with its own share of questionable moves for a city still perched on the precipice of hell. Remember, McGrath was the guy who served as police chief when dozens of police officers launched a ground attack against two unarmed civilians in November 2012, ultimately firing 137 bullets into their car and killing them.
Last summer, Scene called for his firing.