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Cops once again shun a visit from Mayor Lightfoot

This time, it was officers in the same unit as slain Chicago police Officer Ella French who were meeting at McCormick Place. They objected to a mayoral visit and complained to Supt. David Brown about a lack of support.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a news conference earlier this week after two police officers were shot, one fatally, in West Englewood.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks at a news conference earlier this week after two police officers were shot, one fatally, in West Englewood.
Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

They did it again.

For the second time in the last week, Chicago police have made it loud and clear that Mayor Lori Lightfoot is not a welcome presence in the wake of the fatal shooting of Officer Ella French and the serious wounding of her partner over the weekend.

The scene: Several hundred officers were meeting at McCormick Place Monday night where they learned that the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation had already stepped up to give $60,000 to French’s family. The officers are in the same unit as French, the Community Safety Team, which is headquartered at McCormick Place.

The gathering was told that Mayor Lori Lightfoot was planning on attending, and officers were in agreement that they did not want her to come, sources said.

Deputy Chief Michael Barz delivered the message, sources say, in a move that received much praise from the rank-and-file officers who were there.

The end result: Lightfoot did not attend. Many officers present did not want to hear from Supt. David Brown, either, but Brown did attend, cleared the room of everyone except police and heard a torrent of complaints from rank-and-file officers.

The grievances ranged from how officers feel they get no support, to how the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office charges — or fails to charge — cases, to the department’s new policy on foot pursuits, sources said.

One source who was present credited Brown for listening to officers for more than an hour.

The officers’ shunning of Lightfoot Monday night comes after a group of about 30 officers turned their backs on the mayor Saturday night when she visited University of Chicago Medical Center where the seriously injured officer is being treated.

The mayor’s office had no immediate comment.

Rahm’s way ...

Former Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who is awaiting confirmation on his ambassadorship to Japan, placed calls to the parents of the two police officers shot.

“I told them I would be there for them in any way that I can,” said Emanuel, who told the father of the police officer now recovering at the University of Chicago Medical Center, a retired police officer himself, “you can lean on me.”

“As a parent, I can imagine what they are going through,” said Emanuel.

Emanuel attended French’s police academy graduation ceremony. “It was my last one while mayor of Chicago and I got to meet hundreds of parents of the young officers. ... I had just had [knee] surgery and I remember having a hard time standing for long periods of time.”

“So I called Ella’s mother, who told me her daughter’s special love was for animals,” he said.

So Rahm said he and his family are making donation to PAWS Chicago in French’s name.

Contributing: Frank Main