Mayor Lightfoot slams Chicago police union while pushing for reforms

A leader of the police officers’ union gave Mayor Lori Lightfoot a public tongue-lashing at Wednesday’s City Council meeting, and the mayor gave it right back to him.

Leaders of the police union have vowed to block virtually all of the key changes Mayor Lightfoot wants to make to their collective bargaining contract. Escalating the conflict, the union's first vice president went to the City Council to scold the mayor to her face.

“You will have difficulty achieving your goals, if you do not include us and our members support,” Patrick Murray said. “if you want to sit there and talk to us, I don't have a problem.”

“Anytime you're willing to move forward on reform and not block every single issue, criticize and say, ‘No!’ My door is always open. I've said that to your president. No one's taken me up on it, sir!” Lightfoot said.

Union President Kevin Graham won that post last year, leading a slate of "blue voice" candidates who promised to resist changes to police disciplinary procedures. The City Council's Black Caucus and now the mayor demand more "accountability" for police misconduct.

Also speaking at the council meeting was an officer who has reportedly been disciplined nine times and suspended from duty for at least 86 days. He called the mayor unfair to officers.

“You can't keep blaming the police for the crimes that are going on…start pointing the finger where they belong. Like Jack Nicholson said in a ‘Few Good Men, ‘I would rather you just say, thank you,’” said CPD Officer John Catanzara.

Police are prohibited from striking, meaning that this union contract battle is likely to be resolved eventually in compulsory arbitration.