A City Mourns a Fallen Police Officer. We Also Should Mourn the Lack of Critical Thinking on the Left that’s Cost Thousands of Black Lives.
There’s a reason why Chicago police literally turned their back on Mayor Lori Lightfoot as they mourned the loss of one officer and prayed for another clinging to life. It’s not pettiness. It’s legitimate anger.
Anyone taking an honest look at the police and crime data can see an ongoing case of political malfeasance. The Chicago Police Department is being reformed in Chicago despite the fact that for at least a decade CPD data indicate they don’t use force higher than the national average, and the past five years have shot citizens at even a lower rate. When benchmarked to arrests, racial disparities drop to nil.
Yes, the entire argument against Chicago police has been built on B.S. for almost 10 years, and possibly even longer. Police have reformed on their own, and come a long way by reducing their use of fatal force by more than half since 2014.
At the same time, crime is skyrocketing with Chicago’s murder rate standing at five times higher than the national average. And the job of policing is as dangerous as its been in years, with line of duty deaths nationally increasing 10% since last year.
In a story that’s gaining global attention, a 29-year-old cop, Ella French, was killed during a traffic stop in the South Side of Chicago on Saturday night, August 7. That same weekend 75 people were shot in the city, but only one by police. The shooters of the two officers have been apprehended thanks to heroic and fast-thinking civilian and law enforcement action.
Mayor Lightfoot before she held public office, and currently as mayor, has thrown cops under the bus for performing a job that could turn deadly in split seconds. Importantly, they do it without being racist (systemically or otherwise) according to all available evidence. Of course, an uncritical media said the task force she led somehow proved the Chicago police were systemically racist, as the New York Times echoed in its 2016 headline: Chicago Police Dept. Plagued by Systemic Racism, Task Force Finds.
Some of us actually looked closely, and didn’t find it. We saw statistical meddling to fit prefabricated agenda.
Lightfoot’s report stated, “C.P.D.’s own data gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” But that’s complete bunk, and always has been.
She manipulated data to argue police have a pattern of excessive force against minorities when they do not — or have not for at least the past two decades. This I know from six years-plus reading everything I could on race, policing, and criminal justice. I have written on the subject (often, very often), noting police in Chicago and nationally shoot and kill black folks many times less than the mid-1970s while the rates against whites and other races have remained constant. Her report, like so many others, did not benchmark police behavior to actual citizen behavior.
Lightfoot and the Democratic establishment, under political pressure, also pushed through a 2018 policy that upset rank-and-file police who said the consent decree reform would cause police to hesitate to draw their firearms. Lightfoot said, “It is a very serious thing to pull your gun on someone,” which is true. However, there’s also evidence police already took the act seriously. Metrics like the low number of Chicagoans shot by cops indicate restraint.
You know the term: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The policy forces police to document every time they point their weapon at someone. This might sound reasonable to some, but in practice it will only make police more hesitant to trust their instincts and pull out their weapon, for example if they see a bulge in someone’s pocket. Ironically, this arguably leads to a drop in public safety as police disengage. Police don’t want paperwork to file that could later be held over their heads come promotion time. The problem again is there was no evidence that police in Chicago were pulling out their guns more often than the national average since 2015, and this is despite being one of the top American cities in gun crime. (I’ll get to specific numbers in a minute, but know that every year CPD manages to get thousands of guns confiscated — 6,100 guns by the midpoint of 2021 — while only shooting around 10–20 people annually on average.)
Chicago cops already showed restraint, so what’s the problem? This was unnecessary and merely a virtue signal to the anti-police activists, and because Officer French and her partner were shot without their weapons unholstered, it’s possible this Lightfoot-endorsed policy cost French her life. Since 2018, shootings against police officers have significantly increased.
I have no doubt many police had these issues at the forefront of their mind when they turned their back on the mayor, or when the critically wounded officer’s father yelled at the mayor and blamed her for the incident.
Why Speak Now? Because Facts Matter
I’ve risked relationships and my reputation for doing one thing: Not shutting up when I know the world is pushing an absolute bullshit narrative.
Of course, I’m not the only one angry. But when you repeat the same data over and over to blank or numb faces, you ask, “Why do this again?” Maybe because of the chance the tide will finally turn. So hear me out. I know it’s a lot to take in.
First of all: Trust me, if 50% of the people cops killed in the U.S. were black, I’d be on the street protesting alongside Black Lives Matter. But it’s 25% black year-after-year and that stat matters. The rate of force by police matches actual crime interactions — and most importantly, police do not interact with Black Americans in excess of crime occurrences — and that’s why there’s no evidence of systemic racism. I found that data and research nationally, and in Chicago.
Basically, in Chicago you’ll find a little more than 90% of crime suspects are black or Hispanic, and you’ll also find around 90% of arrests are black and Hispanic, and so are 90% of the use of force occurrences. This is entirely predictable and proves there’s no racial bias by police officers. Yet what’s happening globally is police are tagged as institutionally racist for doing their job. Nothing more. I believe most politicians secretly know this but choose to remain silent because of, well, politics.
I want to give them the tools to do better.
Again, the rate of force by Chicago police of black citizens is 40 out of 1000 arrests, and nationally it’s around 46 out of 1000. For whites it’s 33 out of 1000 arrests in Chicago, and 36 out of 1000 nationwide, according to the most solid data I can find by the Center of Policing Equity (CPE). This makes 95–96% of arrests for both blacks and whites completely absent of physical force. Note: This is before benchmarking to violent arrests, which even CPE admits “reverses” the bias disfavoring white Americans. Still, ideologues at CPE, including executive director Phillip Goff, twist the data to make it sound like blacks are treated 3.6 times worse in sum totals and their lives are under constant threat by law enforcement, which I’ve covered many spaces as audaciously misleading, including here.
Some very intelligent folks have the temerity to say, “Well, you can’t trust the data. It comes from police. It’s really hard to pull together complete sets.” Well, it’s this same damn data that is being used to vilify the police in these reports, research papers, and articles. How stupid do you think we are? It’s so condescending. This is how it plays out so often:
God, the police are so racist. They keep getting away with abusing citizens.
How do you know that?
Well, here’s some data saying they’re not.
Oh, you can’t trust that, it came from police.
And again: Case reports originate from victims and third parties, NOT the police. Do they actually believe police are shredding reams of reports of white offenders so the ratios match their stop, arrest, and use-of-force rates? This is QAnon-level crazy, but it passes as credible liberal pushback on any narrative that tries to defend policing.
The media and academia when highlighting disparities of police force almost universally avoid specific disparities in the commission of violent crime. Countless times smart, sincere liberals tell me they don’t think there’s any racial differences in crimes being committed, just police and criminal justice racism hyper-focused on controlling the black population. Usually, they muddle the topic and refuse to acknowledge the data that can’t be named.
This has led to results that are further devastating black and brown communities. It’s hurting the exact people they think they’re helping.
Again, if the data said 70% of crime suspects were black or brown, but they were 90% of the people shot — and hypothetically at rates four or five times higher than the national average — then I would totally agree that Chicago police have no regard for “the sanctity of life” of people of color, which Lightfoot’s task force concluded. But nationally and hyperlocal, I’ve only seen data where police interactions match behavior. I can’t think of a single police department that’s wildly out of whack, not Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, or New York City.
Even police themselves fail to highlight this when defending themselves. Obviously, it’s even taboo for them. I personally think they often do a terrible job standing up for their profession with evidence-based specifics. From my direct experience, police leaders, union reps, and rank-and-file just don’t have the knowledge of their own macro datasets.
Maybe folks just don’t like numbers, and that’s why maybe 10 pairs of eyeballs made it this far. (Sorry, I’m not thinking reader metrics.)
And the real tragedy of all this: The anti-policing rhetoric and sentiment is cementing into a massive, multi-year murder spike. I myself have estimated 17,250 excess murders in just six years. That’s 17,000 lives that would otherwise be loving, laughing, and dancing if murders leveled off before the rise of Black Lives Matter in 2014. Some researchers have noted the direct connection of increased murders in spaces where BLM protests took shape. Vox reported on this preprint research:
“From 2014 to 2019, there were somewhere between 1,000 and 6,000 more homicides than would have been expected if places with protests were on the same trend as places that did not have protests.”
The media outside conservative outlets are only beginning to catch on.
Black Lives Matter & Lori Lightfoot: Peas in a Pod
BLM holds a libelous narrative with deadly consequences. And I’m not talking about this one cop, or even all 250 cops shot annually. I’m talking about our society falling apart at the seams, as violent crime is spiking as a direct result of millions of “the U.S. is institutionally racist” vocal and mainstreamed arguments. This drives culture. This puts police back on their heals, or “fetal” as Lightfoot’s predecessor Rahm Emanuel once said to much political blowback. This drives anti-social, violent behavior. In 2014 we had just more than 14,000 murders the year of Michael Brown’s killing, which was ruled fully justified by the Obama Department of Justice ran by Eric Holder, who happened to be black. After Ferguson, Baltimore, and Chicago blew up in protests after high-profile deaths, we increased to more than 17,000 murders in 2016. In 2020 the United States will have topped 20,000 murders with the largest single year increase on record, and it appears national totals will go higher in 2021.
50% of those murdered are black, and close to 55% of the murderers themselves are black, according to FBI data.
In 2019, 12 of the 54 people killed by cops unarmed were black. That’s less than 25% of the total unarmed killings by police. But you wouldn’t know that if you’re watching the news or reading social media, would you?
80% of media stories are about black lives taken at hands of the police, according to black researcher and professor Wilfred Reilly. That means a black person killed by police is 12 times more likely to get a news story than someone non-black. I’ll add that a vast majority of them are justified, too.
But despite unarmed killings by police representing 0.1% of all homicides, that’s the dominant threat to “black skin” that protestors on the left keep focusing on, and corporations keep echoing in social justice advertising. The “anti-black violence” by police that permeates our country, leading to the blocking of highways and burning of police departments, is really just 1 out of 1,000 of U.S. homicides. Interracial violence is also one-sided, favoring blacks and disfavoring whites. Yes, actual white supremacist racists get it wrong, but media blunders to explain.
You know that’s insane. You know that’s 100% obfuscation and projection.
And many don’t want to hear that argument. They don’t want to hear that police killings today are merely 3% of black homicides but up to 10% of white or Hispanic homicides. But here it is again.
With all the empirical facts at their fingertips, far too many Americans dutifully ignore them and keep talking about “White Supremacist” America committing all those anti-Asian attacks. I’m sorry, but in cities like New York City those attacks are six times more likely to be by black citizens than white citizens according to New York City Police Department records. But facts like that are ignored, and University of Boulder professors continue to write headlines in esteemed publications like The Conversation that read: White supremacy is the root of all race-related violence in the US.
Smarter people without the PhD degrees know better.
How many of you have “liked” a post that argued a police officer’s job is not that dangerous? The Chicago Police Superintendent after the killing of Ella French stated a total of 38 Chicago police officers have been shot at or shot so far in 2021, 11 of whom had been struck by gunfire. For all of 2020, 79 Chicago cops were shot at or shot. Nationally, more than 2,000 officers annually face a firearm assault, according to the FBI.
Do you wear a bulletproof vest at your job?
Who’s “liked” some story that shows our police or criminal justice system is racist? Who thought Colin Kaepernick was a hero and kneeled for “justice”? He’s really a puppet, and really not very bright to boot. (I’ve yet to hear him make a cogent speech that wasn’t drafted by someone else. I’m still waiting.)
You do know the idiotic and immoral measurement of “systemic racism” the media and Democrats have pushed for years — to a public more-than-willing to swallow this garbage argument — is saying this: If one group is on the receiving end of force more often than another group then that’s racism. (And yes, that’s what Critical Race Theory argues, too — that any unequal outcome means the entire system must be upturned. Never mind that no society in history has ever created equal outcomes for every group.)
Ignored by almost every news outlet and left-of-center thinker is the fact that African Americans in this country are 5 times more likely to kill officers compared to white Americans (FBI, 2010–2019), but are only 3 times more likely to be killed by police (Washington Post, 2015–2020). Non-Hispanic white Americans are 26% of murderers, and around 40% of violent crime suspects, but they’re 50% of people killed by police. That indicates an ANTI-WHITE bias year-in and year-out, and you can’t reasonably argue with those facts.
Are Police Anti-Male?
Men are 95% of people shot and killed by police, and only 5% of the time they’re not armed. Because men and women make up equal halves of society, more or less, that makes men 20 times more likely to be killed by police than women. But not a single person outside men’s rights circles makes an argument of “The anti-male, misandrist bias of American policing.” But it’s the exact same logic of the social justice movements in America that have infiltrated corporations and governments.
If you don’t get that comparison then you’re indulging in double-standards. If you don’t believe my numbers, there are more than 10 studies on fatal force by police indicating no racial bias. Sadly, many are ignored, forgotten, dismissed, or discredited based on ideology more than cogent argument.
So while Obama’s DOJ said police are racist in Chicago because black folks are 10 times more likely to be on the receiving end of force (leading to deranged, crime-accelerating ACLU reforms and misguided consent decrees), they don’t tell you the black population in Chicago is 27 times more likely to commit murder per capita than the white population (24 times more likely to commit robbery, too). And yet the DOJ’s words (“10 times!”) were repeated uncritically by NPR, USA Today, The Washington Post, Vox, and The Chicago Tribune. Crime disparities aren’t mentioned anywhere in the 163-page report created at the highest levels of “justice.”
It’s because you can’t talk about them. That’s racist, people say pointing a shameful finger. Media follows suit. We could have continued to lock up people who commit murder and violence, rather than think we could “reform” our way to a better world. That’s how you go from 14k murders to 20k murders in a short blip of time.
We can talk about the history that resulted in this; but at the same time, as John McWhorter has eloquently pointed out, it’s been 50 years since we expanded the welfare state for people of color and instituted widespread affirmative action. It’s been 44 years since we directly addressed redlining with the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977. And that Vietnamese family that came over in 1975 with their shirt on their back already has two generations who’ve gone to college. I spelled out this argument against the concept of persisting systemic racism when folks on the left were calling free-thinking prodigy Coleman Hughes an Uncle Tom or worse, simply for not wanting reparations. (Fortunately, Hughes has created a hugely successful podcast, continues to write for Quillette and New York Times; and I hear rumors from McWhorter that Hughes has a forthcoming Ted Talk.)
McWhorter has recently bluntly written in his Substack newsletter that the whole term “systemic racism” is so “awkward and unhelpful,” pointing out that not all discrepancies between blacks and whites are not due to “racism.”
CAN WE PLEASE DITCH THE TERM "SYSTEMIC RACISM"?
The Elect are direly committed to teaching us the difference between personal racism and systemic racism. It is…
But I want to co-opt the term. I wrote about these topics from 2016 to 2020 because I keep getting told that “systemic racism” were those outcomes that disproportionately affect people of color negatively. Well, I thought the increased murder rate disproportionately hitting the black community six times more than the white community — and partially an outcome of anti-police fabrications, social media hysteria, and plain old lies — fits that definition. I actually do think it’s “systemic racism” to not put more police in poor black communities, because they need them more. It’s a very simple argument. It’s used in relation to racial equity around Covid-19, too. Black folks are dying more, shouldn’t they get more resources?
And haven’t I proved to you that the current police force, while not perfect and certainly has its share of racists, isn’t systemically anti-minority?
Public Safety is a Civil Right
I could do math and see that 800-plus murders in Chicago in 2016 — up from around 460 in 2014 — is definitely a greater loss of life than 17 police-involved killings dipping down to 11. (What’s 340 minus 6, again?) Police pulled back, and the net gain was massive bloodshed. We may once again this year pass that 800 death total while fatal police-involved shootings number around 10.
City council members or mayoral aides can easily do these numbers on the back of an envelope to make a talking point. Nationally, the rate of black homicides by citizen vs. police is 40 to 1. In Chicago it’s closer to 120 to 1.
What’s that expression again? Something about cutting your nose.
But if a kid tosses a gun and gets shot one-second later, then fuck the trigger-happy police, right?
City leaders like Lori Lightfoot and Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx sided with activist outrage and narrative when a 13-year-old got shot by police, and Foxx even threw her own staff under the bus. Media followed suit, with no one pointing out a fluid live shooter situation (let alone bad parenting) led to this unfortunate death, not poor police training. One fact was almost entirely stricken from news reports and politician’s lips: The kid literally had a gun in his hand a second before he was shot.
In fact, I’d argue the police training was spot-on, and unfortunate shootings will happen when people run from police with firearms in their hand, especially after shooting it. Police call this, “Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.”
The facts are 1% of Chicago shooting victims come from white shooters, and at mid-point last year there were 300 people shot (fatally or injured) by citizens for every one by cop (0.3%). So where the hell do WikiLeaks-loving activist data scientists like Lucy Parsons Lab Director Freddy Martinez get the temerity to say ShotSpotter is a tool that endangers black lives because of … threats from police? Martinez spouts this insanity:
“ShotSpotter is not found in any majority-white neighborhoods, obviously we know that it’s not the case that there’s no gun violence in those neighborhoods,” he said. [NOTE: There is almost none. He’s completely wrong.] “So, what happens is that you have police officers thinking there’s gunfire, racing to the scene where Black and brown people are hanging out, and really just thinking that everyone is an armed suspect. It’s quite dangerous and leads to very harmful interactions, which is one of the things we saw with the Adam Toledo case. If it wasn’t for ShotSpotter, if it wasn’t for the high-risk foot chase, then maybe that child would still be alive today.”
You claimed to be a “data” scientist, right Freddy? Talk about shooting yourself in the foot, so-called “pro-black” activists.
In my heart, I’ll always find the Black Lives Matter movement a manufactured crisis that cost thousands of black lives. It’s built on a completely distorted worldview, too. Why must the New York Times’ 1619 Project’s hyper-focus on American slavery, built on exaggerations and outright lies about past racism, leading us us to forsake public safety as a virtue and a civil right for black people today?
Allow me to be bluntly honest and cynical: Because grievance must be perpetuated, and there’s money and fame in it.
You want to get rid of police because there is some historical connection between policing and slave patrols? (It’s another lie the media perpetuate: American policing started in the North East, brought in from England, and some say policing goes back to Ancient Rome.)
Many other black Americans, such as those who took part in the 1776 project, ask you turn the other way. Towards truth. Towards your life today. Towards behaviors and decisions that can make a difference.
All those click-bait articles you’ve read saying our society has racism baked into it? I’ve read them, too, and I’ve yet to come across one that isn’t facile and “problematic,” as the kids like to say. That isn’t magical thinking. Feel free to post one and I’ll point out exactly how. But to be honest: I’ve had hundreds of these conversations, and only conservatives and the truly critical thinkers agree that BLM has no leg to stand on — much to my chagrin, as a lifelong Democratic voter.
And I do this because I do care about black lives. I care that last year we had 1,500 more black people murdered than the year before in America. I can’t blame Trump for that. During his presidency, murder rates did not rise and public safety mostly leveled. Though, it’s what’s happening in the cities that really drives crime, not actions as the federal level (unless you’re talking DOJ consent decrees, which I’ll get to shortly). I do blame the nationwide post-George Floyd protests. I blame the Democratic party that fanned the flames. (Google, as always with their viewpoint bias, says otherwise.) I blame activist prosecutors from Philadelphia to San Francisco, and the voters who put them in office. I blame Michelle Alexander, Ibram X. Kendi, and Al Sharpton.
Hopefully, Biden can temper the activist wing. I’m not so sure.
I’ve talked about the spikes in murder for years, driven by resentment of police and the system. Skeptic Magazine pointed out last year that more than 50% of “very liberal” Americans, and 35% of “liberal” citizens, think 1,000 or more black people are killed unarmed by cops a year.
The real answer: It’s closer to 10–20.
Sorry, lefties, you’re only off by FIVE ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE!
There is no greater chart than this one directly below that tells me the left has gone completely mad.
And there’s other charts, too. This one directly below caused my Facebook feed to blow-up directly after the death of George Floyd.
This is my favorite go-to graphic. It’s from the CDC. How obvious can you get in visualizing how police self-reformed in their treatment of black citizens?
And in Chicago, compare these numbers:
- 148 citizens shot by police in 1975
- 20 shot in 2020
- 12 shot in 2019
- 21 shot in 2018.
Big difference, wouldn’t you say? Where’s that Chicago Tribune headline on this progress? Isn’t that what progressives want? Perhaps that’s why I’m finally pulling the plug — well, at least my subscription— on the local media that’s failed us.
I’d laugh if that widespread ignorance and cynicism on the left didn’t lead to such a horror show.
People are praising corporations like Nike (who bashes America, but not China), Olympic Americans who protest, and any act of “racial solidarity” because they’re misinformed and/or stupid. Virtue signaling wins you social media points and friends, but honesty or nuance rarely does.
Where I Stand: For Truth & Helping Communities of Color (Psst — Experts Actually Agree Robust Policing Actually Lowers Crime, Thus Helping Law-Abiding Minorities)
My racial solidarity is simple: I stand with the 81% of African Americans who want to retain the same number cops — or even more police — in their communities, not the radicals who want to de-fund the police. There is no greater disconnect from reality than this powerful Gallup Poll that CNN ignores, leaving it to Fox News to report. This is how we get echo chambers. This is how we get a distorted reality. Just as the right-wing factions are living in an alternative universe around the 2020 election results, and even coronavirus vaccines.
I’m sorry to say I don’t have faith in people of a certain mindset to understand. Their lives depend on viewing America through shit-colored, dishonest glasses. It’s a lens I could understand in 1963, but not today. I’d totally join the social justice crowd — as I have many times in the past — if the data indicated things were utter crap.
But capitalism mostly works. Meritocracy mostly works. Policing saves lives. And after 25 year of being a rabble-rouser who questioned almost exclusively ideas on the right, I’ve come back around to saying: I love my country, and I think the United States on a whole is probably as good a place to live as any. It’s far from racist. (Canada is pretty sweet, too.) And data keeps proving it.
And bacon tastes good. Yes, I even got past my vegetarian preciousness.
So just know: I do believe many out there have blood on their hands as we have had a 40% spike in murders since 2014 in the U.S. Yet we’ll always have the obfuscating elites such as Vox still leading their stories with “we still don’t know why…” But we do. People in poor communities know. The murders keep growing as we further the discontent towards police, shining a billion lights on George Floyd or Breonna Taylor but hardly a single one on Tony Timpa. For those that don’t know, Timpa is a white man killed just like Floyd who’s not in the public consciousness. So one can hardly say, “This only happens to black people in America.” In fact, I measured black people get 2.5 times more “justice” in prosecutions against police compared to white people.
(Or consider my minority opinion: 40–60 unarmed deaths of all races out of 1,000 by law enforcement might just be the absolute best you can do without completely changing policing to the point societies start looking like Joker’s Gotham, with more cops getting shot and cities in turmoil. Or until we get a time machine and melt all the guns and give the Second Ammendment a reboot. It’s worth noting that unlike the U.K. and Japan, which everyone loves to compare the U.S., we have at least one gun for every man, woman, and child. Firearm death rates per capita are 60 times higher in the U.K. compared to the U.S. That’s why police shoot more people here!)
But I know why it seems like injustices only happen to people of color. It’s because people remain collective ostriches, heads placed righteously (with one fist raised) in the sand.
Don’t be that ostrich. Think for yourselves. And if you feel the urge: Thank a first responder for what they do. Which is play a fundamental part in saving lives.
I’ll leave with this quote:
“Defunding the police is not a solution and could cost thousands of black lives.”
Those words from renowned Harvard Economist Roland Fryer were boldly said in The College Fix in an interview about his 2020 research on the social impact of the “Pattern-or-Practice” investigations on crime. If you read nothing else, peruse that paper. Or scan the highlights on my white paper documenting the very real Ferguson Effect from all this anti-policing rhetoric.
Because those lives lost and bones shattered by criminal gunfire are real. And eventually, we have to admit the boogeyman is ourselves. All this was completely avoidable if we could only be a little more honest.
RIP, all the lives lost that never should have left us.
- 2015–2021: 25% killed by police are black; 50% white; 20% Hispanic; 5% other (approx.)
- From 2007–2016 an average of 2,150 firearm assaults on police per year (10% injury rate; around 250 cops are shot a year, 50 killed — many not killed due to training and bullet-proof armor) https://ucr.fbi.gov/leoka/2016/officers-assaulted/tables/table-75.xls
- My 2017 essay proving how corrupt the attacks on criminal justice were:
- My 2018 essay saying murders are spiking due to the ACLU and the consent decree will only make public safety worse. (And sadly, the stats are proving me right every year.)
- What anti-policing movements do: Kill more people of color.
- “Defunding the police is not a solution and could cost thousands of black lives,” Roland Fryer told The College Fix in an interview about his latest research.
Yesterday: A 29-year-old cop Ella French was murdered, and cops turned their back on the mayor. Some argue it’s been a longtime coming. Below are two excerpts from The Chicago Sun Times and The Chicago Tribune:
Chicago cops give cold shoulder to Mayor Lightfoot at hospital after two officers shot
They turned away and gave her their backs. Mayor Lori Lightfoot was given the cold shoulder by CPD rank and file about…
It was then suggested that Lightfoot say a few words to nearby grieving officers, but as she approached, they all walked away from her and to the other side of a bank of chairs — and turned their backs, the sources said.
“They did the about-face — it looked like it had been choreographed,” said one of the sources present, calling it “astounding.”
Lightfoot appeared shaken, according to one source. Then she went downstairs to speak to reporters at a news conference about the shooting.
“The police officers’ decision to turn their backs on the mayor while waiting with the family on the 7th floor was significant,” FOP President John Catanzara 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.
Officers no longer support Lightfoot’s leadership, Catanzara said.
“They have had enough and are no longer going to remain silent anymore.”
In a statement released Monday afternoon, the mayor’s office said in part: “The mayor was present at the emergency room to offer support and condolences to the families involved and the hundreds of line officers and exempts who were there, which she did. In a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected. The mayor spoke to a range of officers that tragic night and sensed the overwhelming sentiment was about concern for their fallen colleagues.
“As the mayor stated . . . now is not the time for divisive and toxic rhetoric or reporting. This is a time for us to come together as a city. We have a common enemy and it is the conditions that breed the violence and the manifestations of violence, namely illegal guns, and gangs.”
After 2 Chicago officers shot, cops shun Lightfoot at hospital visit as morale sinks to 'all-time…
A group of Chicago police officers turned their back on Mayor Lori Lightfoot when she visited their wounded colleagues…
“We have a common enemy and it is the conditions that breed the violence and the manifestations of violence, namely illegal guns and gangs,” the statement said. “The mayor is focused on healing the wounds and will reject any and all that try to use this moment to drive further divisions in our city.”
Lightfoot has had a long, complicated relationship with Chicago police. As a former federal prosecutor, she touted her law enforcement background to earn support from police and firefighters during the 2019 mayoral election. But she has also worked for police reforms, heading the police accountability task force created by Mayor Rahm Emanuel following the release of video in the police murder of Laquan McDonald and recommending major changes.
Although Lightfoot’s encounter with police officers at the hospital is noteworthy, it isn’t the first time a big-city mayor has been greeted that way by cops. Several New York City police officers turned their back on Mayor Bill DeBlasio when he delivered a eulogy for NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia who was shot and killed in 2017. Other officers also turned their back on DeBlasio in 2014 following the deaths of NYPD Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
Still, others said the incident at U. of C. Medical Center reflects frustrations by Chicago cops that city leaders don’t provide enough support to officers. Southwest Side Ald. Matt O’Shea, 19th, said Chicago police morale “is at an all-time low.”
“We’re significantly down in officers. They are rushing for the exits. They are leaving law enforcement. They’re looking to get hired by suburban municipalities. They feel that leadership in Chicago does not have their back,” said O’Shea, whose ward is home to many police officers.
“I hear this every day as I talk to officers and I talk to their families,” he added. “It’s something I’ve been talking about for years. We are woefully inadequate with our support for our officers, whether that be mental health support, support on the job, or when they’re out on the street, they feel like people don’t have their back.”