Cook County Public Defender seeks probe into deputies’ posts after march

Chicago News

CHICAGO — A public defender has asked Cook County’s sheriff and inspector general to investigate insulting and threatening comments apparently posted online by deputies following a march in support of Black Lives Matter.

In a letter sent Thursday to Sheriff Tom Dart and Inspector General Patrick Blanchard, Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli requested that the deputies behind the posts be disciplined or, if appropriate, fired.

The posts appeared online after about 200 people, including many public defenders, participated in a demonstration Monday at the county jail in Chicago.

A Facebook comment purportedly posted by a deputy assigned to the Leighton Criminal Court Building reads: “Good luck to them all when the courts open up!”

Campanelli also cited a post that reads: “Bring in the fire hoses and horses this is not a protest.”

Campanelli questioned how she or anyone else could have confidence that people in custody are receiving housing, food and being treated “equitably and humanely” by “the custodians of the jail.”

The sheriff’s office, which runs the jail, said in a statement Friday that after receiving the letter late Thursday afternoon, it “immediately launched an internal investigation into the matter.”

Demonstrations and unrest spread to Chicago and other cities around the U.S. following the May 25 killing in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd. A white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes, even after the handcuffed black man stopped moving and pleading for air.

“The very purpose of our protest, as was the purpose of all protests around the country, was to oppose racism and discrimination exhibited by law enforcement,” Campanelli wrote in the letter. “Now, posted on social media as a banner for all to see, members of law enforcement are expressing their intolerance for justice and even suggesting there will be consequences to my staff and my clients.”

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