FOP protests Rialmo decision, says Emanuel turned his back on CPD

ByCraig Wall and Megan Hickey WLS logo
Wednesday, May 23, 2018
CPD FOP protests reforms, contract
The Chicago Police Department union protested changes to hteir contract and use of force reforms Wednesday.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Off-duty members of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago protested Mayor Rahm Emanuel inside and outside City Hall late Wednesday morning for "turning his back on police."

Chanting "Rahm must go" and "We are CPD," dozens of off-duty Chicago police officers marched around city hall with flags and signs saying "Back the Blue" and "Blue Lives Matter."

Protesters are upset over the status of Officer Robert Rialmo, who was suspended and faces unpaid status over the shooting of Quintonio Legrier and Bettie Jones. Rialmo's case is now before the Police Board.

"This ruling has essentially undermined the use of force taught and employed by police officers. Because of this ruling, no officer knows when he or she can use force, placing them and the public in danger," said FOP Vice President Martin Prieb.

The police union accused Emanuel of not having their back and criticized the mayor's Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

"Is this the kangaroo court that decides police misconduct allegations? Sadly, it is," Prieb said. "COPA is a political witch hunt on police officers. The investigations are unfair and politically motivated."

Outside the council chambers, anti-police protesters gathered, including those opposed to the planned police academy. That group faced off with uniformed officers, chanting "No justice, no peace."

The mayor said he plans to listen to both sides.

"The issue of reform can be contentious, I get that. It can be loud," Emanuel said. "But it doesn't deter us from making the necessary changes, necessary investments to achieve both the public safety and the reforms we need."

Officers are also upset about their contract, which expired last July.

"Our members are starting to believe that you have no intention of negotiating a contract with us until after the next election," said Pat Murray, FOP 1st Vice President.

The head of the public safety committee said he did not believe the mayor is dragging his feet for political purposes.

"We knew all along that this was not going to happen right away, and you know we want something that we can all agree on," said Alderman Ariel Rebroyas of the 30th Ward.

The police union is also concerned about a consent decree based on the recommendations from the justice department reform task force. They continued to push back on additional civilian oversight.

Emanuel said he wants to avoid the mistakes of other cities and put in place reforms that aren't done "to" police, but "with" and "for" police.

The mayor's office released a statement in response late Wednesday morning:

"When you have people on either side of the police reform issue criticizing, it's a sign we're hitting it down the middle of the fairway as we continue to build trust between officers and residents, ensure oversight and accountability, and give officers the tools and training they need to be proactive in the crime fight."