Witness described gesture as ‘astounding.’
Police officers reportedly turned their backs on Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot as she approached them while inside a Chicago area hospital Saturday night.
The incident happened inside the University of Chicago Medical Center after two Chicago officers were shot during a routine traffic stop, with one female officer, Ella French, 29, suffering fatal wounds.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Lightfoot addressed the surviving officer’s distressed father, who shouted at her and blamed her for the shooting.
She next attempted to console Chicago officers, however, “as she approached, ‘they did the about-face — it looked like it had been choreographed,’ said one of the sources present, calling it ‘astounding,’” reports the Sun-Times.
Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said the gesture was symbolic of how officers blame her for skyrocketing crime that puts officers’ lives in danger.Embed from Getty Images
“Turning their backs on the mayor was an excellent example of how the hundreds of police officers felt waiting outside the hospital,” the FOP president said.
“They have had enough and are no longer going to remain silent anymore.”
A statement from the mayor’s office Monday omitted mention of the officers’ gesture, instead discouraging “divisive and toxic rhetoric or reporting.”
“The mayor was present at the emergency room to offer support and condolences to the families involved and the hundreds of line officers and exempts who were there, which she did,” the office said in their statement. “In a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected. The mayor spoke to a range of officers that tragic night and sensed the overwhelming sentiment was about concern for their fallen colleagues.”
According to reports, 73 people were shot in Chicago over the weekend, with 11 fatalities among those.