In the aftermath of the Ella French shooting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been attacking the press left and right. She has been shunned by the entire Chicago Police Department and even tried to claim that the media is in a “race to the bottom.” She called their reports “sickening” and emphasized that we are living in a time where people don’t respect each other. Respect starts with the officers under her command and she has blamed them for everything over the last year. Respect is earned and Lightfoot has earned nothing.
Last weekend, 29-year-old Officer French was fatally shot at a traffic stop with her partner, who remains in critical condition at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Lightfoot arrived at the hospital to greet the family, but it was unclear whether or not that went against the family’s wishes. It wouldn’t be a surprise for Lightfoot to arrive at the hospital for a photo-op with the injured police officer. When she walked into the hospital, more than two dozen Chicago police officers turned their backs to her. The recovering officer’s father also yelled at her on the scene.
When asked by a reporter about the incident, she said people feel the right to “spew hatred at everyone they don’t agree with” through the power of the pen or a keyboard. She said there was a “larger question” than the officers turning their backs on her and asked why it is okay for people to engage in “nasty, vicious talk” online and then have it repeated by the mainstream media. She even tried to downplay her role in the conflict and how it has affected the climate of Chicago today.
“I think our media plays a very important role in our democracy, but you lose me, you lose me when it’s a race to the bottom and it’s all about the fight and it’s all about the conflict. I’ve got to tell you, some of the reporting I’ve seen this week is just sickening. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do better to show our people everywhere that we have the capacity to be human beings again,” Lightfoot said.
Another reporter claimed that Lightfoot “forced” her way upstairs at the hospital, to which she said she was not going to respond. She went on to claim that she doesn’t force her way anywhere and how people need to be careful about “reporting irresponsibly.” Lightfoot said it does a “disservice” to the moment we’re in and then rhetorically asked what else the reporters were going to “mine from the bottom of the chum barrel.”
“My role as mayor when I go to a hospital is to be there to show support, to make sure that city services are there and we’re being responsive to the needs of whoever it is so come on, gimme a break,” Lightfoot said.
It’s ironic that Lightfoot would attack the media, especially after announcing a few weeks ago that she would only grant interviews to people of color. How is that treating everyone equally as a human being? Lightfoot quickly readjusted her stance on the interview process after negative reporting.
Another reporter also pointed out how First Deputy Police Superintendent Eric Carter rushed through French’s funeral procession by calling off the traditional honor guard and bagpipe salute. There is an audio recording of him saying how “we don’t have 20 minutes for this sh**” or time to organize the bagpipe squad.
Lightfoot shot back how that reporting is “just not true” and cited COVID-19 protocols by the Medical Examiner’s office. She said she would defend Carter’s decision to skip the tradition, even though a spokeswoman for the Medical Examiner’s Office revealed that the COVID-19 protocols have not changed since the pandemic began.
Lightfoot has continued to defend how she handles law enforcement issues and warned reporters to be careful and check their sources.
9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale pointed out how she could’ve just left the family her number and told them that they were here for support.
It’s painful to listen to Lightfoot talking about treating people like human beings when she refuses to pay respects to fallen police officers and firefighters. She has created hostility and unrest within the police department and it shows. That’s Dem leadership for you. She’ll excuse a proper funeral for an officer by citing COVID-19 protocols but will attend the outdoor, mega-festival Lollapalooza. At the end of the day, Lightfoot didn’t want the tribute because the officers turned their backs on her – as they should.