Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot found herself in hot water this week when she was caught on a hot microphone bashing a local police union leader under her breath during a City Council meeting.
Fraternal Order of Police Vice President Patrick Murray was present at Wednesday’s meeting to advocate for officers fired by the Chicago Police Board last week after the shooting of Laquan McDonald, according to the Chicago Tribune.
However, as Murray was called to speak during the time allotted for public comment, Lightfoot was picked up by recording equipment live streaming the meeting to her mayoral Facebook account whispering derogatory remarks about the FOP vice president.
“Oh, back again,” Lightfoot said to her corporation counsel Mark Flessner, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
“This is this FOP clown.”
A hot mic picked up Mayor Lori Lightfoot calling a police union vice president an “FOP clown” during a City Council meeting. She later said it was inappropriate “to say that out loud.” https://t.co/lBr2uT3EVN
— Chicago Tribune (@chicagotribune) July 24, 2019
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) July 24, 2019
According to the outlet, Lightfoot later expressed regret — not for her rude remark or judgment of Murray, but for saying it “out loud” — in a post-meeting news conference.
“It was not appropriate for me to say that out loud,” Lightfoot said.
When pressed by reporters as to whether or not a formal apology would be made, the mayor said she had already made one.
“I think I just did. I think I said I shouldn’t have said that out loud,” she said. “I’m sorry that I said it out loud.”
The damage was already done, however. Chicago police officers were unimpressed with the mayor’s response.
The incident comes at a time when trust between officers of CPD and the city’s political establishment is already stressed, particularly in light of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s handling of the Jussie Smollett hate crime controversy earlier this year.
The FOP responded to Lightfoot’s insults hours later in a statement on Facebook, calling the insult “dangerous” in an era when “the city is facing such chronic violent crime” and relies so heavily on its police force.
“Mayor Lightfoot’s contemptuous remark is a misguided and dangerous thing to say to a 30-year veteran police officer and FOP representative, particularly at a time when the city is facing such chronic violent crime. It is also telling that the Mayor would not even apologize,” FOP: Chicago Lodge No. 7 wrote.
According to the Sun-Time, Wednesday’s controversy is also likely to bite Lightfoot later this year when she will have to come to the negotiating table with the police union to discuss terms for a new police contract.