Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Will Never Kiss Enough Cop Ass To Satisfy Them
Chicago Police Officer Ella French was shot and killed during a traffic stop Saturday night. Her partner was also shot and is hospitalized. This is terrible news, but while there's no evidence linking Mayor Lori Lightfoot to the horrific act, Chicago police still seem to hold her personally responsible. When the mayor visited the hospital to express her sympathies, rank-and-file officers turned their backs on her, literally refusing to look at her.
French's father, a former Chicago police officer, reportedly tore into Lightfoot and blamed her for his daughter's death. Lori Lightfoot did not shoot anyone. She's also not responsible for reported “low morale" among officers or the high crime rates in West Englewood, where French was shot. Mayors don't have big red buttons in their offices that read END ALL VIOLENT CRIME.
Sources claim that the cops snubbing Lightfoot appeared choreographed, which Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara all but confirmed in an interview.
"The police officers' decision to turn their backs on the mayor while waiting with the family on the 7th floor was significant," [Catanza] told me in an interview.
"Turning their backs on the mayor was an excellent example of how the hundreds of police officers felt waiting outside the hospital," Catanzara said.
Lori Lightfoot did not shoot anyone.
Catanzara claimed that the police are fed up with Lightfoot's leadership. That's their right, just as it is to peacefully protest. They each get a vote during the next election, but they don't collectively have more of a vote than Chicago citizens who aren't cops.
I stand with every law enforcement officer who turns their back on any politician who wants to defund the police.— Andrew Pollack (@Andrew Pollack)1628603373.0
Lightfoot does not in any way support “defunding the police." However, COVID-19 knocked Chicago on its ass economically last year, as it did much of the nation, and Lightfoot had dared propose some necessary budget cuts across the board. She wasn't singling out the police. This was a crisis.
That's probably just an excuse anyway. After George Floyd's murder, Lightfoot dared advance the cause of police reform. I've long argued that it doesn't matter if you call it “defund the police," “reform the police," or “reimagine the police," the cops will reject any constructive change to what most Black people believe is an untenable situation.
Lightfoot wants to increase civilian oversight of the police, as if this is a free country and not a police state. Unless the civilian oversight board is composed literally of gangbangers, then this shouldn't directly result in cops getting shot during routine traffic stops, which most pesky liberals want to scale back if not eliminate completely.
It's funny — not in a “hah, hah" way — how Republicans claim athletes kneeling in protest is offensive to active-duty military, vets, and apple pie, but they don't seem to have an issue with cops turning their backs on elected officials in protest. Hundreds of New York City cops turned their back on Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2017 when he spoke at a slain officer's funeral. They were pissed that de Blasio had joined protesters at a G20 summit the day after the cop was killed. How dare he have other duties! This wasn't the first time the cops had turned their back on the mayor. They similarly protested at the funeral of two officers killed in 2014. The union claimed that de Blasio wasn't supportive enough of the police. (He'd expressed empathy for Eric Garner, whom cops choked to death on a city street.)
Despite what Fox News claims, kneeling athletes aren't actually protesting against the military, the National Anthem, or the US flag. However, the police unapologetically snubbed elected officials performing their duties.
Medical workers are drowning in the COVID-19 surge. Most might resent what Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have done but if either Republican visited a hospital to extend sympathy during the crisis, they likely wouldn't collectively turn their backs on them like spoiled brats.
This is different from a peaceful protest. Police can kneel or march in front of the mayor's mansion. What I find deliberately rude and offensive is when they make a scene of actively rejecting civilian authority.
This is honestly what pisses me off most about modern law enforcement. They want to act like glorified urban soldiers but at least most military leaders understand they are accountable to civilian authority. Cops generally speaking resent this fact. So it's not a surprise that a disproportionate number of cops were part of the insurrectionist mob that stormed the Capitol on January 6.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."