Chicago police are tired of fighting crime with their hands tied behind their back. A recent decree that will give the federal government oversight over the department had many officers rallying at a city council meeting where they called for the removal of Chicago’s mayor.
During the council meeting, more than one hundred Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) members and off-duty officers marched on the streets, demanding Mayor Rahm Emanuel be removed from office. They chanted “Rahm must go! Back the Blue” while holding “Blue Lives Matter” signs.
Inside council chambers, officers and union representatives argued that Rahm was “anti-police” and that he made it much more difficult for them to do their job; Patrick Murray, union vice president, said:
“You are more concerned with consent decrees, settlements, pandering to police-hating groups than negotiating a contract with us.”
“Our members are starting to believe you have no intention of negotiating a contract with us until after the next election.”
President Donald Trump seemed to agree with the FOP and offered his support in a tweet:
Chicago Police have every right to legally protest against the mayor and an administration that just won’t let them do their job. The killings are at a record pace and tough police work, which Chicago will not allow, would bring things back to order fast…the killings must stop!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 25, 2018
The day of protest is being called “Blue Wednesday” as officers organized a march, protested in city hall and called for “justice for Rialmo.” Officer Robert Rialmo is currently on desk duty while awaiting a decision on whether he should be fired after a 2015 shooting that ended with the deaths of a teenager and a bystander. Rialmo’s fate rests on a difference of opinion in the upper echelons of law enforcement; the fatal shooting was declared unjustified by the Chicago Police Board but was deemed justified by Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The mayor does not sit on the board that made the ruling.
A recent agreement between the city and ACLU requires officers to fill out reports for each and every stop and frisk they make. Police say this is “an intentional move to use stats against them.” Emanuel, who is running for his third term as mayor, said he’s aiming for more transparency within the police department in an effort to protect citizens. The spokesperson for his office said:
“When you have people on either side of the police reform issue criticizing, it’s a sign we’re hitting it down the middle of the fairway as we continue to build trust between officers and residents, ensure oversight and accountability, and give officers the tools and training they need to be proactive in the crime fight.”
Federal Solution: Help or Hindrance?
The new decree that will give the federal government oversight over the Chicago Police Department is currently being finalized. It was started during the Obama administration due to allegations of police brutality and racism. The police argue the decree is “a shroud for even more anti-police policies.”
The Windy City is riddled with crime, which has only escalated in recent years. Citizens have written to the mayor asking for help. Chicago resident Karen Pillsbury complained after the mugging of an off-duty police officer who was robbed outside Drummond Montessori School while students were at recess. “You’re raising our taxes by the highest percent in the city and now, people are being held up at gunpoint,” she said. “Enough is enough. Your tax and voter base are leaving. What is the plan here, Mr. Mayor?”
Making it more difficult and time-consuming for officers to do their job isn’t going to help fight crime. While it is true there needs to be some type of governing to prevent the bad apples who abuse their power as officers of the law, involving the federal government and giving it more power is not the answer.