CHICAGO — Chicago’s NPR station reported that about a dozen activists were arrested while protesting at the Chicago offices of the Fraternal Order of Police.
WBEZ reported that the activists held hands and blocked traffic as they were arrested on Monday evening. They were singing “We Shall Not Be Moved,” a civil rights era song, as officers arrested them. The radio station said the arrests had been part of the activists’ plans.
The group is demanding that the police union “abandon [its] racist agenda of opposing all reforms to the legal system, including opposition to police oversight.”
The police union has been working without a contract since the Laquan MacDonald shooting more than two years ago and has been vocal in opposing reforms in the department. Just last week, the FOP had complained about not being included in transition plans with incoming mayor Lori Lightfoot. No other unions were included in transitions either.
The police union is currently in contract negotiations, and those negotiations could shape how police reform does or doesn’t happen in Chicago. For example, the police union has said it does not want citizens to be able to submit anonymous complaints against officers. But the Police Accountability Task Force, which was formed in the wake of the Laquan McDonald shooting and was headed by now Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, recommended that the police contract be changed to allow for anonymous complaints. The ban on most anonymous complaints “may discourage some people from bringing perfectly legitimate complaints,” the task force wrote in its 2016 report.
During Monday’s demonstration, protesters said overall the police contract makes it easier for officers to cover up misconduct and called for a contract that does not allow police to “get away with excessive force, misconduct or murder.”
WBEZ reported that all the activists were cited for obstructing traffic and released.