Background: Ken Snider, Illinois state trooper and former regional head of Quinn’s security detail, abruptly resigned both positions (among others) last month. Turns out the resignations are allegedly related to Snider using a racial epithet – the racial epithet, in fact – towards an African-American college student, as prelude to a fight (it would be stretching things to call what happened next a ‘brawl,’ but apparently at least one punch was thrown). No arrests were made, which heavily suggests that the student was clearly not at fault in this incident.
Given that the alleged incident occurred in a Carlinville bar on St. Patrick’s Day, it is likely that alcohol was involved. Snider’s motivations are unclear, aside from the obvious: it’s been reported that he has been acting a bit erratically this year already. At any rate, the prominent Illinois Democrat has since resigned from pretty much his entire political/professional slate since the incident occurred.
And… that’s it. That’s all that happened to Ken Snider. A lot of resignations.
Let us throw away the usual “If a Republican had done this…” rhetoric and get a bit more elemental. If Ken Snider had been a regular Illinois state trooper with no political connections who had accosted an African-American student, called him the n-word, then laid hands on him – particularly in circumstances that imply alcohol – then the resulting storm of controversy would have been seen from orbit. Rallies, sit-ins, marches, people gesticulating and pounding the table on TV, possibly even a beer summit – in short, a complete and total media frenzy. And it even would be justifiable: after all, we do not in fact want state troopers to go around calling people racial epithets and picking fights with them in bars. That sort of thing has a history behind it. A history that we are not proud of. Instead, it’s just a local story that hasn’t gotten much larger play outside of Big Government.
Because Ken Snider is juiced in. Obviously with Pat Quinn – former regional security chief, and all that – but there’s evidence that other Illinois Democrats are aggressively pushing back on any independent investigation that threatens to get to the bottom of this story. Which is not surprising, given that this incident is precisely the sort of racial unpleasantness that Democrats so often demagogue… as being a Republican problem; and it is awkward at best for the Democrats to have to explain away why one of their own was caught doing that. Hence, the stonewalling and attempts at a cover-up.
But the question remains: has this happened before, Governor Quinn? – Because this entire operation seems a bit too smoothly done to have been done on the fly.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: Please do not insult my intelligence by trying to suggest that the Governor of Illinois is kept out of the loop when it comes to a potential political scandal of this magnitude.