Disrespect for the Chicago police is at an all time high and as the weather turns warmer this summer, the city’s already high level of violence is ready to explode, especially if new proposed policies are adopted. So warns an official with Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police (FOP).
In a new interview, Dean Angelo, Sr., President of Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, expressed foreboding about the summer months as gang violence in the city ramps up to a fever pitch as it usually does in the warmer weather. But the climate of violence isn’t just because of the temperature.
Angelo criticized as “ridiculous” Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s pubic pronouncements that the Chicago PD is fraught with systemic racism and warned that the disrespect Emanuel’s words fostered toward police, and possible changes being proposed in the state legislature, will cause the city to “light up” this summer.
During the interview conducted by local AM radio host Dan Proft, Angelo said claims of racism is “a complete disconnect.” The FOP leader also noted that his organization has repeatedly suggested that lawmakers and policy wonks ride along with police to see what the officers face every day. Angelo said:
To say that the officers that go into these communities don’t care for the communities they work in each and every day is a complete disconnect. What we would like to do is invite all these people that buy into that to ride along with those officers. Get in the squad car with them. We’ve asked city council people to do it and they don’t. We’ve asked people in Springfield [the state legislature] to do it and they won’t… maybe they’ll lose their narrative if they go in there and they see what happens, and they see that way officers are faced with, a level of disrespect never seen before.
Angelo also noted the claim that the police are “racist” is entirely skewed because the reports never take into account the hundreds of Hispanic and black officers involved in many of the incidents and no allowance or determination was made as to whether or not these minority officers are as “racist” as the white officers.
“If you don’t take that into consideration, your numbers are skewed. They’re not even considering the variables about ethnic officers stopping ethnic populations. Or are they racist, too?” Angelo said.
Finally, the FOP chief worried about plans in the state capital to allow for totally anonymous complaints about supposed police misconduct, saying the policy will “light up this city.”
If complaints become anonymous, “most gangbangers” are going to have the department complaint line “on speed dial,” Angelo points out. He went on to warn that with anonymous complaints constantly flooding the department, officials will pressure cops to steer clear of areas where the complaints are emanating from and that is a recipe for retreat, Angelo says.
Angelo said sergeants will only end up telling street cops to “stay away from that corner” because every complaint will result in a mound of paper work.
“What happens with that,” Angelo warned, “when the sergeant tells us to stay away, we give them [the gangbangers] the corner. We lose the corner, we lose the block. We lose the block, we lose the community, and it’s going to light up this summer.”
The Windy City is already on track to have its most violent year in decades. Just over four months into 2016, murder rates are up over the last two years. For instance, 2014 saw 623 shootings by the second week of May, while 2015 suffered an even higher 734. But 2016 has already racked up a whopping 1,236 shootings in which 221 citizens have died. Thus far this year, a Chicagoan is shot every two and a half hours, while one is murdered every 14 and a half hours.
Chicago, of course, isn’t alone with an increase in violence. Nearly every big city in the country is seeing murder and violence rates rise, mostly in minority communities. It is a problem being dubbed the “Ferguson effect,” as officers retreat from crime plagued communities in order to avoid being called “racists” by Black Lives Matter-induced complaints.
Even the U.S. government has made note of this problem. Just this week FBI director James Comey said he believes police officers all across the country are being less aggressive on the streets because of the “Ferguson effect.” That and a “viral video effect” has officers everywhere afraid to confront lawbreakers.
Indeed, even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel complained that police are “going fetal” and retreating from confrontations, which in turn is allowing crime to spike,
“We have allowed our Police Department to get fetal, and it is having a direct consequence,” Emanuel said last year.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com