I had to do a double-take when I read that a police union went to bat for a cop at the U.S. Capitol—at least that’s what I thought it said. I assumed it was for one of the brave Capitol police officers who fended off an armed and violent insurrection. Police unions, such as the Fraternal Order of Police, which used to count Capitol Policeman Michael Fanone among its members, is the largest and loudest law enforcement union in the nation. They never had any trouble putting out statements condemning what they call “vile and disgusting” mob behavior. When one officer was allegedly hit with a brick at a George Floyd protest, they said, “Criminals have seized the opportunity to terrorize our communities. It is well past time for this lawlessness to end!”
Yet it wasn’t just a brick Trump’s mob used during the attack on our Capitol. It was metal poles, skateboards, bear spray, and the officers’ own weapons. Fanone was attacked with his own tazer, and yet the Fraternal Order of Police fell silent. Worse, they didn’t reach out to Fanone or any of his fellow officers. They won’t defend the officers, and refuse to condemn the January 6th rioters. Yet the article said they were going to defend a cop at Capitol on Jan. 6. I thought, finally, maybe they had come to their senses.
Nope. Apparently, the Chicago chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union is going to bat for one of its members, but not a Capitol police officer. No, they are coming out to defend a moronic cop who stormed the U.S. Capitol and is now scared he might lose his job with the Chicago Police Department.
So FOP won’t support the people in uniform who protected the Capitol, but have no trouble defending those who attacked them. That’s very telling.
Chicago PD Officer Karol Chwiesiuk was charged in June for his part in the attack, which included invading the office of Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley. Prosecutors said in charging documents that Chwiesiuk even used the N-word when bragging about it, “N__ don’t snitch!” In Illinois, the charges are serious enough that he is required to give up his firearm owner ID card. However, he says he needs to keep his card so he can keep his job on the police force.
Enter the FOP, which sent a letter to court officials that they are going to fight for him. Not only are they fighting for him to keep his card, but they are also trying to move him into pay status, and are putting up roadblocks to keep him from being fired from the force.
That’s great, because this is the guy you want patrolling your streets:
Most other labor unions have shrunk over the past few decades, but membership in police unions remains high. While nationwide movements have demanded more accountability for bad cops, police unions have pushed back in every way imaginable: by overturning firings, opposing the use of body cameras, fighting any disciplinary actions, and lobbying to keep members’ disciplinary measures sealed.
Yet these same unions went silent when they were asked to condemn the insurrection, or at least to give support to the officers who bravely saved our democracy that sad January day. Their actions speak volumes. They’ll go to bat for you if you beat or kill a minority, but defend lawmakers from a violent white mob? You’re on your own. At the very least, I can say to them the same thing I say to any other right-winger who says he proudly “backs the blue”: just shut the hell up.
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