FOP Watch: Addressing Anti-Police Paranoia in an Open Letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

On Friday June 14th, the Fraternal Order of Police released an open letter to the citizens of Chicago detailing their stance toward Mayor Lori Lightfoot. The letter communicates the anti-police paranoia the leaders of the FOP are experiencing.

FOP Open Letter about their anti-police paranoia

The FOP’s letter was issued in response to Mayor Lightfoot’s “several inflammatory” and “false allegations” of the FOP as “obstructionist” in addition to a rejection of the Mayor’s reform policies, which the letter describes as “unfair,” “shortsighted,” “biased” and “having dire consequences on the city of Chicago.”

According to FOP officials, Mayor Lightfoot’s reform policies reflect an ideological rather than constitutional approach to policing, which the letter describes as running the risk of a “potential politicalization of the criminal justice system.”

One such mentioned reform measure, the proposed “Point and Report”’ mandate, would require officers to complete required paperwork each time their gun was drawn. However, the FOP regards this proposition as holding “no provable benefits” and working to only “further handcuff the police and tie them down in extraneous paperwork.”

Collectively, the contempt toward the introduction of the Mayor’s reform policies speaks to the strong sense of anti-police conspiracy paranoia present throughout the letter. Between the Mayor’s refusal to negotiate with the FOP and repeated “stonewall dialogue,” the FOP believes that these politically charged reform measures only enhance “bogus allegations” of the “fervent anti-police movement that is at work in our city.”

Central to their claim of rising distrust of police is “suspect data collection and interpretation.” Referencing previous ISR reports, which mandated paperwork after every police stop, the FOP gave light to an independent study from the University of Utah that blamed the use of ISR reports with an increase in murders.

From the mention of the University of Utah study, it appears that the letter incorrectly conflates “data collection and interpretation” with “reform policies” to blame Mayor Lightfoot for the rise of “bogus allegations” against police. By this same relationship, this would mean that if proposed reform policies, such as the Point and Report, which like the ISR reports are meant to increase transparency of suspect data, would in turn increase murder rates within Chicago, accoring to the FOP.

Our FOP Watch Blog Series is being published to inform community members of the actions and rhetoric, like the pushing of an alleged anti-police paranoia campaign, being put forth by the Fraternal Order of Police on their blog and social media postings.

Resultantly, the FOP describes the current dilemma in which they find themselves. They can either “unilaterally accept reform measures,” which apart from being “extraordinarily expensive” and with “no provable benefits,” only increases anti-police sentiment, or they can continue what they call Kimberly Foxx’s “revolving door policy” of police locking up criminals and Ms. Foxx letting them go.

The FOP’s letter provides only one alternative to this dilemma: “a vibrant dialogue between the Mayor and the FOP” to begin addressing crime. The Mayor’s described relationship with Ms. Foxx, however, makes this negotiation seems improbable.

In all, the letter concludes with a central message for Mayor Lightfoot in light of growing anti-police conspiracy paranoia:

“We fear that the Mayor’s intransigence, combined with her inflammatory and often false rhetoric, is scapegoating the police for the chronic violence that permeates our city. Ludicrous claims that we are not doing our jobs, and other claims like the ones that we associated with white supremacists, have already emerged within the last few months. Mayor Lightfoot should be working with us to separate fact from fiction, not fan the flames ignited by false, politically motivated claims.”  

Ultimately, in releasing an open letter, the FOP presented an articulated stance of their growing concern in a medium other than their blog, public comment or social media as a means of protecting “the silent majority.”

Despite the presented call for open dialogue, the letter consequently presents more gridlock in further illustrating the growing tension since the election of Mayor Lightfoot.

For more about our FOP Watch Blog Series you can follow this link.

For Branden McGovern’s first piece in this series you can follow this link.

Author: Brendan McGovern

Brendan McGovern is a research intern with the Chicago Justice Project.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: