Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot – the first out gay African-American woman to be elected the mayor of a major city – has warned the city’s police force that homophobia won’t be tolerated after videos emerged of a police officer using a homophobic slur during Black Lives Matter protests in the city.
“We will not tolerate people who cross the line. We will not tolerate excessive force. We will not tolerate profanity and homophobic comments that demean the badge, demean the honor of being a Chicago police officer, and demean the value of who we are as Chicagoans. We will not tolerate that. Officers who choose to do those things or to tape over their badges, or to turn off their body worn cameras – all things that violate very clear directives of the Chicago Police Department. If you are one of those officers, we will find you. We will identify you, and we will strip you of your police powers. Period,” Lightfood said at a press conference
Police misconduct, from harming residents to covering badges to using homophobic language, will not be tolerated. Period. If you believe a police officer has committed an act of misconduct, please call 311 to report it. pic.twitter.com/hvi4UUZuOh
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 6, 2020
The video of the homophobic incident (mentioned earlier and shown below) was posted on Instagram by @kylcnnnghm who said the incident occurred on May 30, 2020. In the video, a police officer is seen carrying a stop sign before a traffic cone flies in his direction. The officer turns around and yells: “Wait until I turn my back you fucking fa***t!”
The Chicago police department said they had opened an investigation into the incident. “Any derogatory conduct is inexcusable and has no place in the department. We do not tolerate this kind of behaviour, which is why we have opened an investigation into this incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action immediately as we work to identify the officer involved,” the police said in a statement on Twitter.
The Civilian Office Of Police Accountability asked the Chicago police to identify the officer and relieve him of his powers. A statement that was welcomed by the LGBTQI non-profit Equality Illinois.
“We believe in keeping the focus on what the protests are primarily about: our society cannot tolerate police brutality against African-Americans, including queer and trans African Americans. But we want to add unequivocally, there is no place for homophobia among those who are charged with protecting our city. This officer must be removed from duty,” the organisation said.
Mayor Lightfoot, a lawyer, was elected as Chicago’s mayor in May 2019. Lightfoot was a prosecutor and subsequently headed the Chicago Police Board and the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force. During the election campaign, Lightfoot was targeted with homophobic flyers that had her photo with her wife Amy Eshleman dropped near churches.
Lightfoot had last week called for the sacking of another police officer who was caught on camera giving the middle finger to protestors.
Over the last few weeks Lightfoot has taken on President Donald Trump over his statements about the protests in Minneapolis and other parts of the United States following the killing of George Floyd.
Last week she told Trump that she will see him in court if he carries out his threats of sending in the military. Earlier, in a widely shared video she responded to Trump’s tweets on the protests at a news conference: “I will code what I really want to say to Donald Trump. It’s two words: It begins with F and ends it ends with with Y-O-U.”