Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first out Black lesbian mayor of a major U.S. city, issued a stern warning to the city’s police force about homophobia.
“We will not tolerate people who cross the line,” Lightfoot said at a press conference. “We will not tolerate excessive force. We will not tolerate profanity and homophobic comments that demean the badge, demean the honor of being a Chicago police officer, and demean the value of who we are as Chicagoans. We will not tolerate that.”
She continued, “Officers who choose to do those things or to tape over their badges, or to turn off their body worn cameras – all things that violate very clear directives of the Chicago Police Department. If you are one of those officers, we will find you. We will identify you, and we will strip you of your police powers.”
Lightfoot’s comments came after a video went viral showing a police officer using a homophobic slur at a Black Lives Matter protest. The officer turned around after a traffic cone flew in his direction and said, “Wait until I turn my back you f*cking f****t.” The Chicago police department has issued an investigation into the incident.
Lightfoot, who was elected mayor in 2019, previously intervened after another officer was caught giving the middle finger to protestors.
On Sunday, she announced “some pretty monumental reforms” that she’s recently won for the police. “I know it’s going to set the stage for what I know is going to be a long fight around police reform,” she said. “We’ve got to get unions to understand that they’ve got to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.”
She has also stated that police unions have been a major barrier to getting these reforms passed, per NPR News. “Unfortunately, in history in our city, and I think the history of other cities, unions are extraordinarily reluctant to embrace reform and that’s a current state of affairs here,” Lightfoot said on Saturday.
As a mayor with a long history of fighting for police reform and accountability, Lightfoot’s promises are sure to be tested in the coming weeks.