Chicago Police Officer Ella French was murdered during a traffic stop Saturday night, and one of her colleagues remains in critical condition. As Americans pray for Chicago police officers and their families, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot remains focused on herself. In her Wednesday press conference about French’s death, Lightfoot complained to reporters, alleging that their critical reporting on her leadership has been “sickening.”
Over two dozen police officers turned their backs on Lightfoot late Saturday night, when she visited the University of Chicago Medical Center, where French’s partner is still in critical condition.
When Lightfoot was asked to comment on the officers’ protest, she whined that “we are living in a time where people don’t respect each other.” Lightfoot seemingly suggested to reporters that the police officers’ protest was similar to “nasty, vicious” internet talk. “So this is a larger question than what may have happened with 10 or 15 officers on Saturday night,” Lightfoot said. “It’s why do we think it is OK for people to engage in such nasty, vicious talk, orally or worse, on social media, and then have it repeated by media as if it is fact and true.”
Lightfoot continued her posturing, saying, “I think our media plays a very important role in our democracy, but you lose me, you lose me when it’s a race to the bottom and it’s all about the fight and it’s all about the conflict,” she said. “I’ve got to tell you, some of the reporting I’ve seen this week is just sickening. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do better to show our people everywhere that we have the capacity to be human beings again.”
While Lightfoot clouded her argument in platitudes, her message was clear: she does not take nicely to being criticized. Allegations have been made that First Deputy Police Superintendent Eric Carter called off the traditional honor guard and bagpipe salute during French’s funeral procession. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Carter told police officers, “We’re not waiting on the bagpipes,” because “we don’t have 20 minutes for this sh-t.”
Lightfoot “reportedly backed Carter’s decision [to rush the procession,] after initially insisting during a news conference that the reports about Carter were false,” Fox News reports. And her narrative keeps shifting.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Lightfoot tried to argue that the reporting on Carter “is just not true”and that “Eric Carter made the right call,” but she conceded that the procession did not follow tradition.
“I support what he did,” Lightfoot said. “And I’m terrified that in this moment, people are trying to savage him for whatever agenda or purpose.” “And I would just caution you all. Be careful. Be careful,” she preached. “Check your sources. Make sure they’re accurate. Get the right context. Because I know firsthand, it’s really hard when the media becomes ferocious in propagating a story that’s just not true.”
In an attempt to explain Carter’s actions, Fox News reports Lightfoot “cited ‘COVID protocols’ by the Medical Examiner’s Office and claimed a protest group that ‘wanted to hijack the procession’ complicated matters outside of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.”
Lightfoot happily attended Lollapalooza just a couple of weeks ago, but argued that Chicago city leadership couldn’t honor French with a traditional send-off, due to virus concerns. This explanation is complicated by the fact that a representative for the Medical Examiner’s Office told WGN News that “Protocols for [such] processions … have not changed since the pandemic began.”
At least 75 Chicagoans were shot over the weekend, including 9 murdered and 16 wounded in three mass shootings. The weekend prior, 51 Chicagoans were shot, at least six of whom died.
As of August 10, total homicide victimizations, total shooting victimizations, criminal sexual assault victimizations, vehicular hijacking victimizations, and aggravated assault victimizations are all on the rise in Chicago, compared to last year. Lightfoot nonetheless tried to brag earlier this summer that Chicago “crime is on the decline.” This wasn’t true then and it isn’t true now. Chicago’s crime is surging.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated Carter stated Officer French’s name wrong. It was Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown who got the name wrong, not Carter.