Chicago police Twitter account’s ‘like’ of anti-trans tweet prompts internal affairs probe

The main Twitter account of the Chicago Police Department this week liked a tweet by country singer Travis Tritt that is seen as having an anti-LGBTQ message.

SHARE Chicago police Twitter account’s ‘like’ of anti-trans tweet prompts internal affairs probe
Activists, including Brave Space Alliance, present the city with a report card on Trans Rights during a rally on Trans Day of Visibility in Daley Plaza, Thursday afternoon, March 31, 2022.

Activists, including Brave Space Alliance, present the city with a report card on trans rights at a rally on Trans Day of Visibility in Daley Plaza, Thursday afternoon, March 31, 2022. Calls for a boycott of Anheuser-Busch products grew after the company did a promotion with transgender actress Dylan Mulvaney.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

Internal affairs investigators are looking into a report that the official Twitter account for the Chicago Police Department liked an anti-trans post by a county music singer.

A spokeswoman for the department confirmed Thursday that a complaint was being investigated by the department’s Bureau of Internal Affairs.

A photo on social media that circulated earlier in the day showed the department account had liked a post on Wednesday by musician Travis Tritt, who tweeted that he would be removing Anheuser-Busch products from the hospitality contracts on his tours, saying “I know many other artists who are doing the same.”

Tritt and other conservative commentators have been claiming on social media in recent days that they are boycotting the beer conglomerate that owns the Budweiser, Corona and dozens of other beer brands, including the formerly locally owned Goose Island Beer Company.

The calls for a boycott stem from a Bud Light promotion with Dylan Mulvaney, a transgender actress, TikTok personality and activist.

In a sponsored video post to her Instagram on April 1, Mulvaney talked about March Madness and a Bud Light-sponsored contest while cracking a beer and later said the company had sent her a special can with her face on it.

Echoing earlier social media campaigns where conservative personalities posted themselves destroying their Nike shoes and swearing off M&M’s candy because of the companies’ support for so-called “woke” issues, the posters filmed themselves pouring out or destroying Anheuser-Busch products.

In a particularly disturbing example, musician Kid Rock posted a video to Instagram showing him shooting cases of Bud Light with an automatic rifle.

Jeff Wittekiend initially brought attention to the Chicago police Twitter by sharing a screen grab on his personal page. The Chicagoan said he believes the tweet was meant to have been liked on a personal page by someone who works for the Chicago Police Department.

“It’s not surprising that there are folks associated with the Chicago Police Department public relations team who would agree with these anti-trans ideas. It would have been surprising if it would have been intentionally liked on the official Twitter page,” Wittekiend said.

Data from the police department shows that hate crimes against people over their gender identity and/or sexual orientation have been increasing in recent years.

Last spring, WBEZ reported that 2021 was the deadliest year on record for transgender and gender non-conforming people in the U.S., according to a report from the Human Rights Campaign, which has been tracking deadly incidents since 2013. Six Black trans women killed in Chicago were featured in that report.

Amid increasingly hostile rhetoric from Republican lawmakers, bills restricting transgender people’s rights have been introduced by the hundreds in statehouses this year, including so-called bathroom bills and bans on gender-affirming medical care for minors.

In 2021, the Chicago Police Department announced the creation of an LGBTQ+ Liaison Program through its office of community policing, which was intended to build trust and relationships between police and members of the LGBTQ communities.

In February, a Chicago Reader story detailed internal strife and a lack of support for the program.

A source told the Sun-Times on Thursday that of the six officers initially assigned to the program, only one remained, and that person had been on leave for months.

Contributing: AP

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