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Dozens of Cops Turn Back on Chicago Mayor at Hospital

Lori Lightfoot went to offer support for injured police officer whose partner died in weekend shooting
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 10, 2021 10:00 AM CDT
Lightfoot Visited Hospital With Injured Cop. It Didn't Go Well
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks about the shooting of two police officers during a press conference in Chicago on Sunday.   (Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

(Newser) – Two Chicago police officers were shot during a Saturday night traffic stop, one fatally, and after the shooting, the city's mayor headed to the hospital where the surviving officer is said to be fighting for his life. That visit didn't go well for her. First, sources tell the Chicago Sun-Times, the father of the critically injured officer, himself a retired Chicago cop, yelled at Lightfoot when she approached him at the University of Chicago Medical Center, blaming her for what had happened to his son and 29-year-old officer Ella French. A person on the scene tells the paper that Lightfoot "handled herself well" as the officer's father tore into her and "listened and treated him with respect." Things didn't get better from there: After someone apparently suggested she should next speak to the more than two dozen grieving officers nearby, Lightfoot tried to approach them—and they all walked away and, in concert, turned their backs on her.

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"It looked like it had been choreographed," a source says. Alderman Ray Lopez posted a picture of the officers, backs turned to Lightfoot, on Facebook, writing, "They turned their back to the mayor just as she has turned her back on the rank and file time and time again," per NBC Chicago. Chicago Fraternal Order of Police chief John Catanzara says Lightfoot was told not to come to the hospital floor where the injured officer was being treated, but that the mayor "still thought she knew best and went up there against the advice of family." The Chicago Tribune notes Lightfoot's "long, complicated relationship" with the city's cops, which has deteriorated over such matters as disputes on how to reduce violent crime, contract negotiations, and Lightfoot's push for police reform. A Monday statement from Lightfoot's office said she'd gone to the hospital "to offer support and condolences," acknowledging that "in a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected." (Read more Lori Lightfoot stories.)

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