Police shootings of black men: Haven’t we seen enough?

Editors Note: Today marks our first commentary from contributing editor Stephen Henderson, the Pulitzer-prize winning editorial page editor of the Detroit Free Press, where this column also appears. 

When they buried Emmett Till in 1955, his mother, Mamie, wanted to be sure America could see her son’s battered face and head, the crushed bone and deep bruises inflicted by two Mississippi men who ravaged the life out of him. So she chose a casket with a glass top. If you could bring yourself to look inside, you couldn’t look away. And you couldn’t look past what the image said about the nation in which Till lived, where black men and boys could quickly be hung from trees or beaten to death for the slightest indiscretion, or for no reason at all. Mamie Till knew the image of her son in that casket, published in newspapers and magazines across the country, would be a call to an American reckoning, and to action.

Eddie Johnson, commander

Chicago’s new police superintendent: Due diligence be damned

Eddie Johnson may be well qualified to be Chicago police superintendent. Then again, maybe he’s not. We don’t know. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel rammed Johnson’s appointment through the City Council Wednesday, the byword was due diligence be damned. Neither the mayor nor any alderperson bothered to inquire about alleged police brutality that occurred under Johnson when he was commander of the South Side Gresham district between 2008 and 2012.