On April 2, 2020, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot held a press conference announcing her pick for Chicago’s Next Police Superintendent — David Brown. Lightfoot stood proudly next to the former Dallas PD Chief despite his history of drone-bombing civilians.
In her press conference, Lightfoot highlighted Brown’s “track record of integrity, honor and legitimacy” as a key factor in demonstrating what it means to be a Chicago Police Officer. Her statements ignore his highly unusual decision in 2016 to “use a robot rigged with a bomb” to kill a man following a shootout.
The process, tainted by the shadow of corruption, put Lightfoot’s choice front and center as an obvious candidate compared to others with little experience; but Chicago needs true leadership, not political gamesmanship.
Time and again, CPD has failed to demonstrate any reason as to why our city needs a police department. Its efforts at community policing have done nothing to alleviate the issues plaguing communities of color. To bring in a Superintendent who values life so little that he would strap C4 to a drone and send it to kill someone, is disrespectful to all of the residents of this city.
This is especially true during this moment, when a political crisis has forced millions out of jobs. Mayor Lightfoot has the power and the duty to provide the resources which do keep communities safe: housing, education, healthcare, access to food, water, power, and transit. What will not help those most affected by this pandemic is to perpetuate this city’s violently racist legacy of policing, which is all David Brown’s confirmation will do.
In what ought to be a deafening siren to the public of how terrible this pick is, the front runners in Chicago’s notoriously racist police union, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, celebrated Lightfoot’s decision and endorsed her choice.
Lightfoot’s decision is not final until the Chicago City Council confirms his appointment at the end of the month. At this time we are calling on everyone to reach out to their alderman and demand that they vote no on David Brown’s confirmation as the Chicago Superintendent of Police.
If you do not know who your local alderman is, you can find out here.
We are also calling for a transparent process detailing applicants’ records, the reasoning the Police Board used in eliminating applicants and the reasoning for putting forward its top three choices.
We are also calling for further investment into communities, such as increased funding for schools, hospitals, housing, transportation, and more grocery stores in food deserts. In this unprecedented time, it strikes us as out of touch that the City would be focused on further waste of tax dollars to contribute to an institution that has always been a persistent and embarrassing stain on Chicago’s history — featuring, among other things, forced confessions through torture, brutal slayings of unarmed civilians, cover-ups, corruption, and inexcusable ethical lapses — rather than take steps to bolster institutions that can have a positive impact on peoples’ lives, particularly when this pandemic is shining a spotlight on how continued disinvestment in communities of color threatens drastic consequences for those communities’ constituents.
Now is the time for ethical leadership, not a bolstering of the old political machine.