Chicago FOP chief blasts protesters, politicians, preachers for incendiary rhetoric

SHARE Chicago FOP chief blasts protesters, politicians, preachers for incendiary rhetoric
SHARE Chicago FOP chief blasts protesters, politicians, preachers for incendiary rhetoric

The head of Chicago’s police union on Monday blasted protesters, politicians and preachers, accusing them of using irresponsible “rhetoric” that he thinks incited a man to kill two New York City police officers over the weekend.

“There are a lot of haters out there. We don’t need them to have their flames turned up by rhetoric,” Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo Sr. said during a news conference at the union’s lodge, offering some strong words of his own.

“We are held to a higher standard when we put on our uniforms and enter those patrol cars,” he said. “And elected officials and people that call themselves clergy should be held to a higher standard as well.”

Angelo called the afternoon news conference to vent the frustrations of rank-and-file police officers, many whom were targets of scorn during protests this fall in cities across the United States against police-involved violence.

“They are sickened, they are aggravated, they are extremely upset,” said Angelo, who thinks the virulent political rhetoric endangers police officers. “We’ve become the bad guy because it sells a headline, because it sells a newspaper, or because it gets the person on the couch to stay on your station. That’s not fair . . . We are out there to keep the beast from your home.”

For more than a week, protesters took to the streets of Chicago — shutting down traffic and creating a headache for the cops tasked with overseeing them. During many of the protests, cops were taunted and jeered by the crowds, while largely showing restraint in their handling of the events.

After Saturday’s slaying of the two New York City cops — Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos — in a beat car in Brooklyn, Angelo said he needed to speak up. The officers were shot to death by Ismaaiyl Brinsley, who vowed in social media posts to avenge the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, both of whom died in police-involved incidents.

Garner died in New York after an officer used a chokehold to subdue him. Brown was shot to death by a cop in Ferguson, Missouri, following a struggle. In both cases, grand juries declined to indict the officers, setting off the protests.

“You can see what a moment of being relaxed in a beat car does now: It puts you in an unrecognizable risk,” Angelo said. “It’s a sin to point an accusatory finger to police. Unless you are ready to strap on a weapon and get in a car, hold your tongue. You have no idea what they do and you have no idea what they experience.

“It’s very difficult to stand by and watch this continue with no response from us,” he said. “Just because you are not happy with the [grand jury decisions] does not give you the opportunity and right to continue to call into the question the people that put on those vests every day.”

Angelo also called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to hire 2,000 more police officers.

“It seems to be there’s no money and we can’t get the bodies in the academy that we should just to keep up with attrition,” Angelo said.

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