CHICAGO — Some Chicago city council members have spoken out after vandals defaced another police memorial billboard with the latest incident in Pilsen.
At Canal and Cermak, a billboard splattered in red paint enraged Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward).
“This is one of my normal routes and just at the red light, I looked over and saw the damage done to the billboard,” Lopez said.
The alderman said he was traveling home when he spotted the defaced billboard.
“Clearly, it was intentional to send a message about the police and honoring our officers,” he said. “It’s unfortunate and disrespectful.
“I would hate to see an officer drive past this and see the red paint like bloodstains on what they do.”
It’s far from a one-off.
In recent months, vandals have defaced other police memorial foundation billboards. A video surfacing on social media showed someone removing and discarding a photo of slain Chicago police officer Ella French from a memorial at the Thompson Center.
“Our officers put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” Lopez said. “That’s why last month, on Ella French’s birthday, I filed an ordinance.”
In Chicago, someone caught defacing property that honors a veteran could face serious consequences. Lopez’s ordinance aims to include police officers.
Additionally, Alderwoman Silvana Tabares (23rd Ward) would like the penalties extended to include any property that memorializes or honors an individual or group of police officers.
“The punishment is up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $750,” she said. “That’s what the ordinance does.”
Tabares said she’s already got enough support from her fellow aldermen to get a hearing— she’s hoping that’ll happen next month.
“The city needs to use it,” Tabares said. “Enough is enough. This behavior cannot continue to happen.”