Chicago, IL – A live microphone caught Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot calling the police union first vice president an “FOP clown” as he was preparing to speak during the prelude to the city council meeting on Wednesday (video below).
Lightfoot made the comment just after Chicago Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) First Vice President Patrick Murray was announced as the next speaker.
The 30-year veteran police officer had come to the meeting to defend a Chicago police sergeant and three fellow officers who were fired for allegedly trying to cover up for now-former Officer Jason Van Dyke after he fatally shot a PCP-fueled teen armed with a knife in 2014.
“Oh. Back again,” the mayor scoffed to her corporation counsel, Mark Flessner, according to the Chicago Sun Times. “This is this FOP clown.”
Lightfoot’s offensive remark was broadcast on the meeting’s livestream, and became a hot topic during the news conference that took place after the city council meeting concluded.
“It was not appropriate for me to say that out loud,” the mayor said.
A reporter asked her if she planned to apologize to Murray or to the union, at which point Lightfoot attempted to argue that her prior comment should have sufficed as an apology.
“I think I just did,” she retorted. “I think I said that I shouldn’t have said that out loud.”
The reporter pressed further, and asked Lightfoot if she was sorry about what she had said, or if she was just sorry that her microphone was on when she said it.
“I’m sorry that I said it out loud,” the mayor reiterated.
The FOP blasted Lightfoot in a Facebook post on Wednesday afternoon, and called her comment “contemptuous” and “dangerous.”
“It is also telling that the Mayor would not even apologize,” the FOP noted.
The union then refocused on addressing the reason Murray was speaking at the city council meeting in the first place.
“The red noses, however, belong on the members of the Chicago Police Board, her former agency, for their despicable decision to fire three police officers and a sergeant last week for no good reason whatsoever,” the FOP railed.
The civilian-comprised Chicago Police Board made the decision to fire the sergeant and three officers on July 18, after carefully picking apart details of their reports for anything which could be inaccurate, WBBM reported.
There wasn't enough evidence to bring criminal charges against any of the officers, according to NBC News.
Chicago Police Sergeant Stephen Franko was accused of approving the three officers’ reports about what occurred that night, even though they allegedly contained “misleading and false” information, according to WBBM.
At least one of the reports he approved falsely indicated that Officer Van Dyke was injured by McDonald during the encounter, NBC News reported.
According to the board, Officer Janet Mondragon, Officer Ricardo Viramontes, and Officer Daphne Sabastian all “depict[ed] a scene in which Mr. McDonald was the aggressor and Officer Van Dyke the victim – a depiction squarely contradicted by reality,” CNN reported.
“Put simply, the officers wanted to help their fellow officer [Jason Van Dyke] and so described the incident in a way to put him in the best possible light,” the board alleged.
The board found that the three officers “failed in their duty – either by outright lying or by shading the truth,” WBBM reported.
“All three patrol officers violated that duty by describing the alleged threat posed by Mr. McDonald in an exaggerated way, while omitting relevant facts that support the opposite conclusion,” the board ruled.
According to the board, Officer Viramontes told a detective that McDonald was still holding a knife and tried to get up and move after he was shot, but video footage from the scene contradicted his account, NBC News reported.
Officer Mondragon told investigators she was putting her patrol vehicle into park when the shooting occurred, and said she hadn’t seen what had happened, the board said.
The board ruled that she was lying because video footage showed her patrol vehicle in motion during the first four seconds of the officer-involved shooting.
Officer Sabastian was fired for allegedly failing to explain the “precise” timing of the events she witnessed when the shooting occurred, including failing to note that McDonald was walking away from some of the officers at the time.
The civilian board voted unanimously to fire Sgt. Franko, Officer Mondragon, and Officer Viramontes, and voted 8-1 to fire Officer Sebastian.
The board’s decision went into effect immediately, but the now-former sergeant and officers have the right to appeal the matter in Cook County Circuit Court.
You can watch footage of the mayor's remark about Murray in the video below: