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Pic: Chicago cops turn their backs on Mayor Lightfoot at hospital with critically wounded cop

Police officers depart in patrol SUVs on May 28, 2020, in Chicago. (John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune/TNS)
August 10, 2021

Over two dozen Chicago cops turned their backs to Mayor Lori Lightfoot during her visit to the hospital late Saturday where one officer remains in critical condition after being shot in the head over the weekend.

Chicago Police Officer Ella French, 29, was shot dead during a traffic stop around 9 p.m. Saturday. Her partner was shot several times in the head and shoulder, but survived and remains in critical condition at the University of Chicago Medical Center. When Mayor Lightfoot visited the hospital hours after the deadly incident, roughly 30 officers turned their backs to her, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Here is your police turning their backs on Lightfoot speaking at the hospital,” one person posted on Twitter along with a photo of the moment.

“They did the about-face — it looked like it had been choreographed,” a source told the Sun-Times, adding that it was “astounding.”

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara called the officers’ move while waiting with their wounded colleague’s family was “significant.”

“Turning their backs on the mayor was an excellent example of how the hundreds of police officers felt waiting outside the hospital,” Catanzara said. “They have had enough and are no longer going to remain silent anymore.”

The Sun-Times reported that Lightfoot appeared shaken by the display, and her office later released a statement calling for people to “come together as a city” to fight a “common enemy.”

“The mayor was present at the emergency room to offer support and condolences to the families involved and the hundreds of line officers and exempts who were there, which she did. In a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected,” the statement read. “The mayor spoke to a range of officers that tragic night and sensed the overwhelming sentiment was about concern for their fallen colleagues.”

“As the mayor stated . . . now is not the time for divisive and toxic rhetoric or reporting,” it continued. “This is a time for us to come together as a city. We have a common enemy and it is the conditions that breed the violence and the manifestations of violence, namely illegal guns, and gangs.”

Gunfire raged across the city over the weekend with 78 people shot, 11 of which were fatal. Between Friday evening and midnight Sunday, the Chicago Police Department reported 54 shootings.

On Sunday, Lightfoot declared a day of mourning and asked that flags be flown half-staff. Prior to her declaration, Lightfoot demanded in a statement that those critical of her treatment of police should “just stop,” Fox News reported.

“There are some who say we do not do enough for the police and that we are handcuffing them from doing their jobs. There are others who say we do too much for the police and that we never hold them accountable for what they do, particularly in Black and brown neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said. “All of this, I say, stop. Just stop. This constant strife is not what we need in this moment. Of course, we have to continue the journey to achieve constitutional and accountable policing. That cannot be in debate at this point.”