Chicago cop stripped of powers following obscene gesture towards protesters

A Chicago police officer who was photographed making an obscene gesture at people protesting following the death of George Floyd has been stripped of his police powers and placed on administrative duty, the department announced on Tuesday.

“The officer used a vulgar, offensive gesture directed a member of the public while on duty and in uniform,” the department said in a statement announcing that Superintendent David Brown made the decision due to what was termed “conduct unbecoming.”

The announcement comes after Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters Friday that she would leave a decision on disciplining the officer to Brown but that she believed the officer should be fired.

Brown will make a recommendation, but the Chicago Police Board will decide whether the officer will be disciplined or fired. Last week’s incident will first be investigated by the police department’s Internal Affairs bureau.

The announcement comes a few days after the city’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability said it was recommending that another officer captured on video using a homophobic slur be placed on administrative duty or relieved temporarily of his police powers during its investigation.

The police department said in a news release it is also investigating.

“We do not tolerate this kind of behavior, which is why we have opened an investigation into this incident and will take appropriate disciplinary action immediately as we work to identify the officer involved,” the department said.


Several other officers are under investigation after another video surfaced showing them on May 31 yanking two women out of a car parked at a shopping mall and throwing them to the ground. It happened during a period when protests of the police-involved death of Floyd in Minneapolis devolved into widespread vandalism and clashes with police.

COPA recommended that the officers involved be identified and have their duty status modified or be temporarily relieved of their police powers during its investigation. After that recommendation, the department announced Brown had relieved two of the officers at the scene of their police powers.