Family of fallen CPD Officer Luis Huesca asked Mayor Brandon Johnson not to attend his funeral

Craig Wall Image
Monday, April 29, 2024
Family of fallen CPD officer asked mayor not to attend his funeral
The grief-stricken family of fallen Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca asked Mayor Brandon Johnson not to attend his funeral.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Mayor Brandon Johnson was among those expressing condolences to the family of fallen Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca on Monday.

But the mayor did not attend the funeral after learning that the officer's grief-stricken mother said he was not welcome.

This decision by the family caused a bit of a political stir.

On Sunday night, the mayor in his public schedule said he would be attending the funeral despite being told earlier in the evening by two public officials, including Illinois Comptroller Susanna Mendoza, that the family did not want him there. On Monday morning, the mayor relented and stayed away.

Retired police officers and others say they can't remember a time when the family of a police officer told a Chicago mayor he or she was not welcome at the funeral.

"It's a powerful message. They're basically saying that they do not want the most powerful, most prominent, most important member of the city, the mayor of the City of Chicago to participate in this very important event," said ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington.

"It says that, you know, the appetite right now of the political movement against the police is noticed by citizens noticed by family members," said 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano, who is also a former police officer.

SEE ALSO | Family, friends remember fallen Chicago Police Officer Luis Huesca at funeral

The mayor's change of heart and schedule came only about an hour before Huesca's funeral was set to begin.

"It shows tone deafness, and it also shows a lack of respect," Washington said.

The mayor, without addressing the controversy, said in a statement, "As mayor, I vow to continue supporting our police and first responders, uniting our city and remaining committed to working with everyone towards building a better, stronger, safer Chicago. My heart is with the Huesca family today."

The last time anything close to this happened was in 2021, when officers turned their back on Mayor Lori Lightfoot when she went to visit the family of wounded officer Carlos Yañez at the hospital despite being asked to stay away.

On Monday, a number of other elected officials attended Huesca's funeral. Chicago Police Supt. Larry Snelling chose to focus on his fallen officer, not the controversy.

"I'm not going to get into politics or anything surrounding this funeral. I am not going to take away from the real focus here and the real focus is that of Officer Luis Huesca and his family," Snelling said. "Last week, officer Huesca's family had also informed the governors team that they did not want him to attend the funeral. The Governor saying today that a lot of times, families do not want the complications that come from political figures attending funerals and he always does what the family requests."