News & Politics

Over Open Mic, Chicago Mayor Calls Police Union Official a 'Clown'

Lori Lightfoot speaks at her election night party Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in Chicago. Lori Lightfoot elected Chicago mayor, making her the first African-American woman to lead the city. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

It’s no secret that Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot loathes the police. She’s been at war with cops ever since she served on the Chicago Police Board and the Police Accountability Task Force in 2015, using the post as a springboard to win the mayoral election last spring.

One of her major nemeses since she took office last spring has been the Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing police officers. Lightfoot’s “reform” efforts have been bitterly criticized by the FOP for hamstringing the police force at a time when violence in the city has spun out of control. In short, officers and the union feel betrayed by city leaders.

The dispute became very public yesterday when, over an open mic at a city hall meeting, Lightfoot could be heard to say, “Back again. This is this FOP clown” as Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Patrick Murray approached the microphone.

Chicago Tribune:

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.

Lightfoot’s comment was picked up by her microphone and broadcast. Nevertheless, Lightfoot’s remarks drew criticism from the union.

At her post-meeting news conference, reporters asked Lightfoot about the comment and she said, “It was not appropriate for me to say that out loud.”

Asked if she’d apologize, Lightfoot said, “I think I just did. I think I said I shouldn’t have said that out loud.”

Did you hear the words, “I’m sorry” from her lips? In fact, Lightfoot is only “sorry” she said it out loud. When asked for a third time if she was sorry, she said, “I’m sorry that I said it out loud.”

The mayor is something of a loose cannon, Appearing on a local news show that aired in May, she spread a wild rumor about the police:

Lightfoot appeared on an episode of the CAN-TV cable program “Chicago Newsroom” that aired in May where she mentioned a rumor she had heard about the police union’s supposed instruction to officers not to be aggressive in fighting crime over Chicago’s violent Memorial Day weekend. FOP President Kevin Graham released a statement on the union’s Facebook page, calling the rumors false.

The union issued a blistering statement yesterday criticizing her remark:

In a statement Wednesday, the police union criticized Lightfoot’s “contemptuous remark” and said it’s “a misguided and dangerous thing to say to a 30-year veteran police officer and FOP representative, particularly at a time when the city is facing such chronic violent crime. It is also telling that the mayor would not even apologize.”

Any idiot can see that this is not the time to be having this argument. The bloody streets of Chicago attest to the need for cooperation between the city’s government and its police force. But it’s hard to cooperate with a mayor who belittles and insults those whose responsibility it is to protect and serve.