Two unidentified Chicago police officers have taken the #ColinKaepernick #TakeTheKnee campaign to a new playing field.
A photograph of the officers, each down on one knee, along with a woman believed to be Aleta Clark, an anti-violence activist in Englewood, was posted on the “@englewoodbarbie” Instagram account on Sunday, along with the words:
“That Moment when you walk into the police station and ask the Men of Color are they Against Police Brutality and Racism & they say Yes… then you ask them if they support Colin Kapernick [sic]… and they also say yes… then you ask them to Kneel!”
The photograph was taken inside the 6th District police station. It had gotten 1,771 likes and 62 comments by Monday afternoon.
I was unable to reach Clark on Monday. But in a live video chat, Clark said she tried to get some white officers to appear in a photo, too.
“Y’all will abide by the rules now, but not when yall whupping n******,” she said in the video.
Not surprisingly, the popular police blog Second City Cop called on the police department to reprimand the officers.
“There has been at least one CR number generated in the past over an officer/supervisor appearing in uniform on political fliers….this is also a very bad idea,” the blog concluded.
“We are aware of the photo, and we will address it in the same way we have handled previous incidents in which officers have made political statements while in uniform, with a reprimand and a reminder of department policies,” said a spokesman for the Chicago Police Department.
The majority of the 89 “Anonymous” commenters on the Second City Cop site blasted the kneeling cops.
“They are in uniform, paid on duty, in the police station and took time away from their job to make a political statement and then post it on social media…There better be an investigation. They are also supporting an anti/hate the police cause,” said one commenter.
“This is unbelievable. If those guys go undisciplined by the department I, a white guy, will pose in my station lobby with a confederate activist and give a Hitler salute. When disciplined, I will sue the city and retire a millionaire,” said another.
However, one commenter, who identified himself as a white police officer in the 8th District, said he “fully” supports the officers in the photo.
Obviously, this is one headache that Mayor Rahm Emanuel doesn’t need.
Fallout over the photo of an “in-the-trenches” activist taking a knee and raising a fist alongside two African-American police officers could reopen the wounds that Chicago police misconduct, including the Laquan McDonald shooting, has inflicted on the African-American community.
And before we jump all over these officers with both feet, understand any old body could not have walked into a Chicago police station and convinced these African-American police officers to pose for an Instagram photo.
But Clark isn’t any old body.
She is the founder of “#HugsNoSlugs,” an anti-violence campaign that sells T-shirts on the streets to raise funds for the victims of violence, and she has appeared on several local radio and TV programs, including “Windy City Live.”
A Go Fund Me campaign for her organization, which was created a little more than a year ago, has raised $6,410 from 96 people in 12 months.
If department rules were broken, these officers will have to pay a price for their advocacy.
Like I said, freedom is not free.
But no one should equate this demonstration of solidarity by two black cops and a community activist with white cops standing alongside white supremacists throwing up a “Heil Hitler!”