A Chicago police officer who called an anti-racism protester an anti-gay slur is being investigated by the Chicago Police Department.
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it was investigating the incident, which occurred at Black Lives Matter protest in the city on May 30, after a video was posted to Instagram showing an altercation between officers and those protesting the death of George Floyd, a black man who was killed last month after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes.
In the video, the officer is walking away from a group of protesters when a small traffic cone is thrown at him. The officer responds by shouting, “Wait until I turn my back you fucking faggot.”
In the caption of the video, Instagram user kylcnnnghm claims the officers had “attacked/chased a protester” with a stop sign that the officer is dragging when the cone is thrown at him. He added: “Other cops were watching him and doing NOTHING.”
The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown should identify and suspend the officer in the video, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Chicago police said in a statement that they don’t tolerate the officer’s behavior and “any derogatory conduct is inexcusable and has no place in the department.”
“We have opened an investigation into this incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action immediately as we work to identify the officer involved,” police said.
LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality Illinois issued a statement saying that focus should be kept on “what the protests are primarily about: our society cannot tolerate police brutality against African Americans, including queer and trans African Americans.”
“But we want to add unequivocally, there is no place for homophobia among those who are charged with protecting our city,” CEO Brian C. Johnson added. “This officer must be removed from duty.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the nation’s only black lesbian mayor and the highest-ranking LGBTQ mayor in history, criticized police conduct during the protests, including the homophobic slur and a separate incident where officers hid their badge numbers and made rude gestures towards protesters.
“I’ve said this before and I’ll say it everyday, we will not tolerate people who cross the line,” Lightfoot said last week. “We will not tolerate excessive force. We will not tolerate profanity and homophobic comments that demean the badge, demean the honor of being a Chicago police officer and demean the value of who we are as Chicagoans. We will not tolerate that.”
She continued: “Officers who choose to do those things or tape over their badges or to turn off their body worn cameras, all things that violate very clear directives of the Chicago Police Department. If you are one of those officers, we will find you, we will identify you and we will strip you of your police powers. Period! We are not going to tolerate this in our city.”
Police misconduct, from harming residents to covering badges to using homophobic language, will not be tolerated. Period. If you believe a police officer has committed an act of misconduct, please call 311 to report it. pic.twitter.com/hvi4UUZuOh
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 6, 2020
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