Blue Wednesday

Just this morning, I had a nice phone conversation with Kevin Graham. He’s the president of FOP Lodge 7 and represents the sworn police officers of the Chicago Police Department below the rank of Sergeant. We spoke while I sipped my cup of coffee at my desk and he ran errands for his wife. He was gracious enough to respond to my request for an interview regarding an incident, which occurred earlier this week.

Members of the FOP, frustrated with the treatment from the city government as well as the lack of support from the mayor, staged an orderly demonstration at city hall and then addressed the city council to voice their complaints. This Blue Wednesday demonstration was held to bring attention to the mayor turning his back on officers of CPD as well as his pandering to ant-police media.

This comes at a time when the mayor is running for re-election for a third term, a time when the contract negotiations between the FOP and the city have stalled, and a time when the city is looking down the barrel of a federal consent decree.

In the video from Fox News, you can clearly see the officers marching peacefully while being taunted by anti-police protesters. After shouting something at the off-duty police officers a young woman spits on a passing protesting-officer. This was clearly captured on the news video footage.

According to Illinois law, this is at least a battery as you can see here:

(720 ILCS 5/12-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 12-3) 
    Sec. 12-3. Battery. 
    (a) A person commits battery if he or she knowingly without legal justification by any means (1) causes bodily harm to an individual or (2) makes physical contact of an insulting or provoking nature with an individual. 
    (b) Sentence. 
    Battery is a Class A misdemeanor. 
(Source: P.A. 96-1551, eff. 7-1-11.)

Kevin informed me a Battery case report was prepared and it’s now up to the department to investigate. He also told me how proud he was of his officers and their response to the vicious attacks, both verbal and physical, heaped upon them by the anti-police demonstrators. He went on to say the officers of the Chicago Police Department are among the most professional and well-disciplined police officers in the country.

Blue Wednesday

One of the problems the FOP sees with the mayor is the stalled contract and the un-clear use of force rules. He mentioned a recent case where the officer shot someone. The shooting was determined to be justified and in accordance with the department’s use of force rules. However the civilian police board is moving to fire the officer.

The officer was trained in the use of force, complied with the rules, and still faces separation from the department because the mayor-appointed civilian-police-board is not following those rules.

I suggested that the anti-police protesters might have been sent there deliberately to instigate a reaction from the off-duty officers demonstrating. Kevin stated there were many different factions there and he had no reason to believe that might be the case. We both agreed that had that been their intention it failed due to the professionalism of the officers.

Sadly, it is not unprecedented. In the past the city has been known to try painting the police in a negative light during contract negotiations. While they might not have instigated the events, they have certainly taken advantage of it when it suits their needs. Here is a case that suits their needs. The mayor would love to stall the contract until after the election. The outcome of the contract could sway votes or even the election.

On Blue Wednesday the officers of Lodge 7 told the mayor how they felt and failed to be painted poorly by the agitators in the crowds.

As a note, many protestors continued to incorrectly talk about all the people the Chicago police shoot and kill.

As of Thursday, May 24, 2018 there have been 967 people shot in Chicago this year; 157 died as a result. Of those, only six were shot by police, and none of them died from their injuries. These statistics were gathered by who keeps track of these things.

Moreover, let’s not forget the officer involved shootings (OIS) were all in the line of duty and are investigated by the department, the civilian investigating agency COPA, and the Justice Department.

These numbers are all prior to the Memorial Day Weekend and we are expecting warm, dry weather.

As always, I welcome your comments and feedback. Stay safe, run low and zigzag.

– Robert Weisskopf, police lieutenant (ret.), Chicago Police Department, author