CHICAGO — The Chicago Police officer who flipped his middle finger at protesters last week has been stripped of police powers, officials confirmed.
Police Supt. David Brown relieved the officer of police powers for conduct unbecoming after the officer directed a “vulgar, offensive gesture” at a member of the public while on duty and in uniform, said officer Kellie Bartoli, a police spokesperson. The officer has been reassigned to administrative duties.
The incident happened as thousands of protesters marched from Lincoln Park High School to the Chicago Police Training Academy on Thursday evening.
At about 5:55 p.m., a caravan of protesters in cars attempted to turn on to Armitage Avenue, but a bus carrying police officers turned south on the stretch first.
A protester flipped their middle finger at the bus. An officer flipped both of his middle fingers at the protesters in return.
A Block Club reporter tweeted the photo, along with a video from a nearby witness.
The next morning, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called for the officer to be fired.
“We will not tolerate that kind of abusive, offensive conduct on the part of police officers,” she said.
In response, Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara told the Sun-Times flipping off someone in uniform isn’t a fireable offense. He also noted that Lightfoot told President Donald Trump “F you.”
“Is it professional behavior? No. Is it childish? Maybe a little bit,” Catanzara said of the officer’s conduct.
Asked about the incident Tuesday, Lightfoot said there is a difference between her remarks to Trump and the officer’s conduct.
“I think there’s a big difference. First of all, I’m a public official and I coded my words,” Lightfoot said.
The officer is sworn to serve and protect the community and — “in a heated circumstance, no doubt” — he went against his training and “brought shame upon his department,” the mayor said.
She said she will continue to speak her truth when it comes to Trump, “particularly when he is trying to foment as he did last week and, if I’m honest, every day, violence in our …streets.”
“He’s not a leader. He’s not trying to bring us together. He’s trying to divide us in everything he does. And yes, I was dramatic in pushing back against him, but I will continue to fight,” Lightfoot said.
Police did not have further information about disciplinary proceedings against the officer at this time.
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