Chicago, IL – A local jewelry store owner said she has been “horribly defamed” by law enforcement officers and “Trump supporters” who want to put her out of business, after she criticized the funeral of slain Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer in a social media post on Friday.
“This funeral seems overkill to show respect to a member of the biggest gang in the city...chicago police,” Sherri Bourdage, owner of Bourdage Pearls wrote on her private Facebook page. “I look at all the money they are spending on this funeral while ignoring suffering kids.”
“They literally take the funding away from kids after school programs including music and sports,” Bourdage wrote. “Cps pays cpd 30 million a year for police protection at schools. If they have something to do after school, they wont get into trouble on the streets while parents at work.”
Commander Bauer, a 31-year veteran of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), was murdered in the line of duty on Feb. 13, when he was shot during a confrontation in a stairwell of the state of Illinois government building.
Blue Lives Matter called Bourdage on Monday, and she answered her phone “Chicago Police."
She told Blue Lives Matter that she deleted the post “a half hour” after she put it up on her private page, after she learned that someone had taken a screenshot of her message and posted it to a pro-law enforcement site.
“Shouldn’t I have a right to free speech on my own private Facebook page?” she asked.
Bourdage said that she also took down her business’s social media pages due to a flood of "negative reviews" and "harassing phone calls."
“I’m really sorry they misunderstood my intent,” she told Blue Lives Matter. “I’m sorry that they felt disrespected, but they disrespect and bully a lot of people.”
Bourdage explained that her post simply reflected what "three or four people" who had been in her store that day had mentioned to her regarding Commander Paul Bauer’s funeral services.
She added that the sentiments were exacerbated by “people’s” beliefs that police “could have” stopped the Feb. 14 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, and that they were facing a lot of “backlash” by citizens for failing to do so.
Bourdage said that for the past decade, she has tried to help Chicago youth to avoid falling into criminal behaviors, and that police and public school officials have ignored her concerns.
She claimed that she has been targeted by CPD officers ever since she began speaking out against an elementary school principal whom she believed was “shaming” and “grooming” students.
Bourdage said that one boy was “strip searched” by this principal, and that he was targeting families who were in the country illegally so they would be less likely to report his wrongdoing.
“The principal tried to have my son arrested, saying that he took a loaded weapon to school,” she said. “He said I had access to weapons and that I threatened to set off an atomic bomb. He put me on the terrorist watch list.”
The principal eventually obtained a restraining order against Bourdage in order to keep her quiet, she claimed.
“I want to stop the problem. Instead of helping, they have beaten me up,” she said.
Bourdage claims that the principal started driving by her house CPD told her to record him, but that they arrested her for violation of a stalking protection order when she did so. She claimed that she was thrown into the back of a van in 104 degree heat and left there for a half hour, causing her to “pass out.”
“I was falsely arrested by police and they did not apologize to me,” she told Blue Lives Matter. “They treat people like animals – inhumanely – a lot of the time.”
She said she was also "thrown to the ground" by officers ten years ago, as she was suffering the effects of an "experimental drug" to help combat her breast cancer.
“Do they apologize?” she asked rhetorically. “My life matters.”
“I never meant to harm anybody, but police don’t apologize for the false arrests they make. It ruins people’s lives,” Bourdage said. “Police should try to have compassion for women over 50 because they’re dealing with menopause, no insurance, and get bullied a lot.”
Bourdage claimed that, because of her violation of a protection order arrest, officers automatically think that she is the one who is in the wrong.
Police tell her 17-year-old son that “your mom’s mental. She’s a mental case,” she said.
Bourdage further claimed that just two weeks ago, an off-duty undercover gang unit officer nearly broke her arm in a physical altercation in the laundry room of her apartment – an assault that she said retaliation for an internal investigation that had been launched against him.
Bourdage said that she has received “50 calls” and “a hundred bad reviews” since she made her Facebook post.
“A lot of the people attacking me are Trump supporters,” she said, adding that “hundreds” of officers are “acting like gangbangers” by trying to put her out of business.
“If this isn’t a gang, I don’t know what is,” Bourdage said through tears. “They’re sure acting like one, aren’t they?"
Bourdage said that she is too afraid to go to work, but that she still hopes the situation will bring about a positive change.
“I would really like something good to come of this,” she said.
Bourdage also shared her opinion on how Commander Bauer would have felt about the backlash she has received.
“I don’t think the commander would condone their practice,” she said. “I think he would tell them that they should listen and be supportive and try to help.”
“I don’t think police are bad people, and most are good, but there are a lot that are really bullies,” she concluded.