Twenty city council members want the acting chief administrator of the Chicago Police Civil Accountability Office disqualified from taking the permanent position because Andrea Kersten released a report recommending a three-day suspension for the officer Chicago police officer killed Ella French.
“Morale is low, tensions are high and COPA publishes a report tainting the legacy of the deceased French officer and recommending disciplinary action against her?” To quote you, Madam Mayor, this demonstrates “the height of deafness,” “wrote the aldermen in a letter to Lightfoot dated Tuesday.
“In these days of civil unrest and increasing crime, we need someone at the helm of COPA who has the emotional and practical intelligence to navigate the many volatile situations they will face in this role. … All this report does is further alienate our Chicago police officers at a time when it is imperative that we begin to regain their trust in this administration and in the people who are supposed to support them.
The letter was notable not only for its strong language but because it was signed by three aldermen who did not hesitate to criticize the Chicago police: David Moore (17e), Jeanette Taylor (20e) and André Vasquez (40e).
They were joined by some of the Police Union City Council’s staunchest allies: Brian Hopkins (2sd), Patrick Daley Thompson (11e), Marty Quinn (13e), Edward Burke (14e), Matt O’Shea (19e), Silvana Tabares (23e), Ariel Reboyras (30e), Félix Cardona Jr. (31st), Gilbert Villegas (36e), Nick Sposato (38e), Samantha Nugent (39e), Antoine Napolitano (41st), Brendan Reilly (42sd) and James Gardiner (45e).
Some of Lightfoot City Council’s most powerful allies, such as Workforce Development Committee Chairperson Susan Sadlowski-Garza (10e), Chairman of the Health Committee, George Cardenas (12e), Deputy Head of the Mayor and Chair of the Licensing Committee Emma Mitts (37th).
The Chicago Police Department is short of 1,000 authorized strength officers even after Lightfoot balanced its 2021 budget by eliminating 614 police vacancies.
After a tidal wave of police retirements, the letter notes that the city has “significant difficulties in maintaining sufficient numbers.” The shortage of officers on the streets increases crime and Chicagoans feel insecure “on our streets and in their own homes,” they said.
“We vehemently oppose Interim Chief Administrator Kersten being appointed Chief Administrator of COPA. … Naming her… would not only be detrimental to our city and its inhabitants, but an insult to the memory of Officer French and his brothers and sisters in blue, ”the letter said.
In a report released last week, COPA accused French of failing to activate a body-worn camera when she showed up to the failed raid at the home of social worker Anjanette Young and of failing to complete the form. required.
COPA spokesman Ephraim Eaddy said the monitoring agency’s summary report on the police raid on Young’s home was completed on April 27.
It’s more than three months before French, 29, was shot dead and his partner, Carlos Yanez Jr., was seriously injured after stopping an SUV with expired license plates at 63rd Street and Avenue Bell.
Eaddy argued that COPA is required by city ordinance to “make reports open for public inspection” and can “redact information only to the extent that it is exempt from disclosure” by the Freedom Act. some information.
But the argument didn’t fly with Lightfoot, who called it the “peak of deafness.”
The mayor’s office made no immediate comment on the letter from the aldermen. Neither Eaddy nor Kersten could be reached.
On August 11, Young released a statement saying that French was the only officer who had shown him “dignity and respect.”
French “helped Ms. Young and allowed her to dress, in the privacy of her bedroom,” the statement said.
The COPA report confirms this. He praised the French as one of the few officers to have “taken positive steps to protect the dignity of Ms. Young”.
In late May, Lightfoot bowed to pressure from advocates for police reform and appointed Kersten, then COPA’s chief investigator, as interim administrator, replacing Sydney Roberts, who was expelled. The mayor was about to anoint Lori Lypson, director of operations at the Public Building Commission, to replace Roberts.
During the budget hearings, Kersten made it clear that she wanted to stay and she impressed city council members with her knowledge of the work.