Ed Flynn - The Luckiest Guy In Milwaukee
If you're hoping to win the next lottery drawing, my advice is to take Milwaukee Chief of Police Ed Flynn with you when you buy the ticket - and hope some of his luck rubs off. After all, Flynn is without a doubt the luckiest guy in Milwaukee.
Consider just some of the evidence.
First, last summer, a large group of out of control young people loot a convenience store and go on a rampage in a public park. For almost two days, the Milwaukee Police Department denies the incident occurred - until a video surfaces that makes the Department look foolish. Flynn fades the heat and promises to be more open.
A couple of weeks ago, a Milwaukee Police Officer (with a checkered history) is filmed repeatedly striking an arrestee while the arrestee is restrained. Despite what appears to be a clear violation of police procedure, Flynn says that there's nothing to see.
Then, last week, apparently upset at negative coverage of his Department, Flynn discontinues press briefings in favor of a web site that will provide the MPD spin on cases. Think "Pravda" for Cheeseheads.
The list goes on and on - but you get the idea.
So how is Flynn able to get away with all this?
First, Flynn is lucky that the guy beaten up on Water Street (I mean, "subdued by forced strikes") was a middle-aged white guy instead of a person of color.
Face it, if the video showed a white officer repeatedly striking a young African-American male while restrained on the ground, we would be Ground Zero for Trayvon Martin redux. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, CNN and every race-baiter in the country would have taken up residence in the Pfister - and Milwaukee would have been the lead story on every national newscast for the past three weeks.
Second, Flynn is lucky that Tom Barrett is running for Governor.
The last thing that Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett wants is a scandal involving his Police Department. As a result, don't expect Barrett to be pressuring Flynn to do anything that might reflect adversely on either MPD or the Mayor. Also, don't expect United States Attorney General Eric Holder or the U.S. Department of Justice to be conducting any investigations that might be embarrassing to Mayor Barrett over the next few weeks.
As an aside, the local newspaper is outraged over Flynn's decision to discontinue daily briefings - but doesn't appear to be very aggressive in pursuing Flynn's boss Tom Barrett about the matter. Do you think Scott Walker would be treated the same way? Of course not - but that's a story for another day.
They say timing is everything. When it comes to Ed Flynn's ability to deflect criticism, that certainly appears to be the case.
Flynn should be careful though. Everybody's luck runs out eventually.