My friend, Hilary, messaged me on Facebook 2 days ago with a message that read, “The most Chicago news headline ever!”
Attached was the article,
I don’t like using phrases like “s**t show” in mixed company, but if any situation warranted being called such, this one would be it. I must admit I’m hard-pressed to know exactly where to start in unpacking this scalding hot dumpster fire of Chicago politics.
If you sit down and talk with me for any length of time about policing in Chicago, you’ll quickly find that I am not a fan of the Fraternal Order of Police. For any non-Chicagoans reading this, FOP Lodge No. 7 is the collective bargaining agent and union for the Chicago Police Department. According to their website, they represent 8,202 Chicago Police Officers.
To say the FOP is a problematic organization is an understatement.
For decades, the FOP has had a reputation for protecting bad cops. This became blatantly clear in the arrest of, and ongoing case, and conviction of murderer Jason Van Dyke. Shortly after being charged with murder, and suspended without pay from the Chicago Police Department, the FOP decided to give Van Dyke a job while his MURDER case was proceeding.
Now, let’s not heap all the dirty laundry on the heads of Lodge No. 7 alone. Following the guilty verdict of the Van Dyke Trail, the Illinois Lodge President Christ Southwood had this to say,
This is a day I never thought I’d see in America, where 12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians at the expense of a dedicated public servant
If the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police doesn’t trust the Illinois judicial system, why the f**k should I?
However, I think the cringe-worthy award of 2018 went to Good ole’ Chicago Lodge No. 7, when upon the death of torturer, felon, and disgraced officer Jon Burge, they had this to say;
The Fraternal Order of Police does not believe the full story about the Burge cases has ever been told, particularly the case that led to his sole conviction, the exoneration of Madison Hobley for an arson that killed seven people. Hopefully, that story will be told in the coming years. We offer our condolences to the Burge family.
As Kim Bellware summarized so succinctly on her Twitter page,
The torture and false confessions coerced by Jon Burge’s “midnight crew” cost Chicago more than ~$120M in legal feels, lawsuits and settlements (and we’re still paying for it). Chicago’s police union, however, is sticking by him.
It’s also important to note that the Chicago FOP also fight tooth and nail to avoid any types of reforms or oversight. While I’m not quite sure what the Chicago FOP stands for, I do know one thing they stand against: accountability!
So, they have a history of supporting bad cops, men who are heading down the primrose path to an 8X10 cell, and even support those who are already on the wrong side of the law, even if they got that way by disgracing the badge, and the Chicago Police Department as a whole.
It’s important to note that just this past MLK Day, Northwestern University had a panel discussion on “Chicago policing during the John Burge years, the impact on torture on victims and the long-term mental health impact of incarceration.”
That’s not history. That is still living and breathing amongst us as the city figures out how to heal, and to reconcile, if healing and reconciling is even possible. So yes, the FOP is problematic.
With their history, I know I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised they are supporting a politician who was recently raided and is currently being investigated by the FBI. It’s important to note that Ald. Burke is also a former police officer himself. However, it is a tasteless move at best to endorse a candidate actively under investigation for breaking the law when you are supposed to represent those UPHOLDING THE LAW!
It would be comical if it were not real life. But it is real life, and this s**t ain’t funny.
In the current political climate, the move stinks to high heaven. I’ve heard it referred to as “tone-deafness.” However, I think it’s far worse than that. It does nothing to squelch the steady accusations of racism and corruption the Chicago Police Department face. The FOP is doing their rank and file no favors, and is in actuality further corroding the perception of police officers in the city, which I think ultimately puts them at greater danger while trying to perform their duties.
But let us not forget the elephant in the room:
If you are a Chicago Police Officer, and you do not speak out against the FOP, then what does that make you?
Let us ponder that question for a moment as we revisit a favorite quote of mine,
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.
~ Desmond Tutu
Police officers in Chicago must begin speaking out against the FOP and it’s ridiculous and often reprehensible stances. They are dangerous, and they do nothing to improve the political climate in our city.
Allow me to leave you with this commentary piece from the Marshall Project that hits the nail on the head,
Why the Fraternal Order of
Police Must Go
So what are your thoughts about the FOP endorsement of Ald. Burke? Do you think it’s a good idea? Should they have waited? Endorsed someone else entirely? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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This post was created on an HP Pavilion x360
I hate this computer.