CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Union said Mayor Lori Lightfoot spread misinformation, and on Monday, she said she was taken out of context, and that a minor remark is getting too much attention.
In a 30-minute interview on CAN-TV, Chicago’s public access channel, Lightfoot, who has tangled with the police union consistently over reform and contract issues, mentioned a rumor about something she heard about Memorial Day weekend.
“I didn’t verify this, but rumors floating around that they were telling their officers ‘Don’t do anything, don’t over Memorial Day weekend,’” Lightfoot said.
The Better Government Association and the Chicago Sun-Times looked into the claim and published an article under the headline: “Lightfoot spreads rumor that police union told cops not to police: ‘I hope to God that wasn’t true.’”
On Monday, Lightfoot said the quote was taken out of context and therefore misinterpreted in the news media.
“What I said was, I had heard a rumor and I hoped that’s not true – that piece of it hasn’t been picked up in the news media. This is another example of – I think – context matters,” Lightfoot said.
Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said, “Rumors should not be spread. The mayor’s office can call me at any time. I did not tell anyone to slow down. The safety of the public always comes first.”
Lightfoot said she regretted mentioning the turning the once again at the FOP, and she responded to the union’s criticism that the mayor hasn’t worked closely with it on violence prevention.
“I have to tell you it’s utterly laughable. This is a union leadership that has rejected categorically any progress towards reform. If they want to be a helpful partner, take some steps in our direction,” Lightfoot said.
Also Monday, the mayor unveiled a new initiative in which Chicago cops will work with businesses in all of the 22 districts to reduce crime.
Between 7 p.m. Friday night and 11 p.m. Sunday, 41 people were shot, three of them fatally, across Chicago this weekend.