Newly inaugurated Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has a bad habit of disrespecting her own police force, though it’s not clear whether her disrespect is intentional or not.
First she unfairly blamed Chicago’s longtime epidemic of violence and criminality on the Chicago Police Department and its superintendent, Eddie T. Johnson. And now she’s taken to virtually spitting on the 104-year-old Fraternal Order of Police.
As a local Fraternal Order of Police official approached the speaking podium during a Chicago City Council hearing this Wednesday, Lightfoot was overheard on a hot mic deriding him as a “clown.”
“As Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Patrick Murray approached the microphone available for people to speak during public comment, Lightfoot was overheard on the dais saying, ‘Back again. This is this FOP clown,'” the Chicago Tribune reported.
“Murray had approached the microphone to express support for the officers involved in the killing of Laquan McDonald who were fired by the Chicago Police Board last week.”
Watch and listen:
Back in late 2014, a young black man — Laquan McDonald — was killed by a police officer in Chicago after being confronted for walking around with a knife and breaking into vehicles. In this case, it was determined that the suspect had been killed unjustifiably.
This past January, the officer who fired the shots, Jason Van Dyke, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison for McDonald’s murder. Now fast-forward to last week, when six additional officers with the CPD were terminated for allegedly trying to cover up his crime.
“[A] city panel voted nearly unanimously Thursday night to fire a sergeant and three other veteran officers, accusing them of betraying their duty by ‘outright lying or shading the truth,'” NPR reported.
“The Police Board … blasted the four for conduct ‘antithetical’ to their ‘duty to act with honesty and integrity and to accurately and completely report their observations.'”
Murray — who, as the FOP’s local chapter vice president, represents the rank-and-file in Chicago — was not pleased by the decision.
“Your job is not to fall to the pressure of the media or the radical police haters but is rather to give each officer a fair hearing,” he told the board during a hearing last week.
“It is obvious that this Police Board has outserved its usefulness. The FOP has made it our top priority that this board be dissolved. We do not have to agree to participate in this type of process as labor law allows us to proceed by way of arbitration,” an apparent reference to discipline-appeal provisions that are standard parts of union contracts.”
Murray appeared at the city council meeting Wednesday presumably to address these concerns with the mayor. She, however, made it clear she had no interest in hearing him out.
FOP Vice-President Patrick Murray, whom Lightfoot told off at the last meeting, blasts the firing of four officers accused of covering for Jason Van Dyke. Says union intends to fight the firings. Says “nobody worked together to form a conspiracy.” Lightfoot says nothing.
— Fran Spielman (@fspielman) July 24, 2019
This wasn’t the first time that Lightfoot has butted heads with Murray — not to mention practically every other uniformed official in Chicago.
Following her inauguration in May, the mayor began pushing for police reform — and this despite the department having already faced numerous highly damaging “reform” efforts over the years.
But when Murray tried to address concerns about these efforts during a city council meeting last month, Lightfoot blasted him and the FOP for their alleged obstruction.
“What you failed to do mayor is you failed to take and ask the FOP for our input during the public comment part of the meeting,” Murray said of the mayor’s reform efforts.
“Mr. Murray, any time that the FOP wants to do anything other than obstruct and object to reform I’d be more than willing to meet with you,” she snidely replied.
This sort of disrespect toward local officers has become a staple of her administration.
In a statement issued earlier this month, she blamed Chicago’s near-endless crime wave — which has existed since at least 2014 — on the CPD and Superintendent Johnson, who for the record has only been on the job as the city’s top cop since mid-2016.
“I do continue to have faith in Superintendent Johnson. But it’s not secret that I’m pushing him and his leadership team to do better,” she reportedly said while in attendance at the so-called Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative conference in New York.
“You have to look at the long-term trends and one weekend does not a trend make. But, we’ve now had a couple of weekends since I became mayor where it feels like we’re losing the streets. And it’s an issue that I push them on and have concerns about.”
Despite her disrespect toward her own police force, she has admittedly made some overtures to them.
Last month, for instance, she put her stamp of approval on a plan set up by Chicago’s previous mayor to build a $95 million police and fire training academy in West Garfield Park.
“After touring the current academy and seeing recruits apprehending mock suspects in a dark hallway, Lightfoot came away more convinced than ever that a new academy is essential to improve police training that the U.S. Justice Department found so sorely lacking,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
If anything, she wanted the facility to be even bigger.
“But Lightfoot said she is not at all certain the two-building campus to be built at 4301 W. Chicago Ave. on 30.4 acres — land that has stood stubbornly vacant for decades — is adequate to house a training facility that will be ‘best-in-class’ — not just when it opens, but for decades afterward.”
Stopped by @Chicago_Police’s Training and Education Academy to welcome the newest recruits. Our police officers play a critical role in public safety—find out how you can be a part of it: https://t.co/OBtazUQZJv . pic.twitter.com/Q4PZDMBUrA
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 25, 2019
Interestingly, this has earned her the ire of Chicago’s more hardcore cop haters, who believe that a truly “progressive” leader would essentially just tell the local police to go to hell.
From calling for more funding for Rahm’s police academy to refusing to sign an executive order to stop CPD from communicating with ICE to peddling these lies about bond reform, Lightfoot has made clear she stands with the cops and not our communties.
— Matthew McLoughlin (@steal_my_tweets) July 18, 2019
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