Crusader staff report
Monday, July 31 was Lori Lightfoot’s final day as president of the Chicago Police Board. While her term on the board runs until 2019, her stint as head of the panel that handles disciplinary cases involving Chicago police officers is over. Now, the clock is ticking for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to decide whether he will keep the woman who as president of the Chicago Police Board, has publicly criticized his policies.
For Emanuel, it’s another tightrope he must walk successfully if he wants to continue to build trust within Chicago’s Black community. So far, Emanuel tiptoed around questions about whether he will keep Lightfoot as the board’s top brass. Meanwhile, Lightfoot and the Black community are waiting for an answer.
For image-obsessed Emanuel, it’s not an easy decision. Lightfoot has been one of the most vocal opponents of Emanuel’s police reform policies since the Laquan McDonald scandal nearly two years ago. Lightfoot also served as co-chair of the Police Accountability Task Force that Emanuel created after protests erupted all over Chicago. Since then, Lightfoot has emerged as a big critic and opponent who’s committed to implementing sweeping reforms to change the brash culture in the Chicago Police Department.
Things got testy last June after Lightfoot criticized the mayor’s out-of-court agreement that was proposed to the U.S. Justice Department.
Lightfoot called Emanuel’s approach to police reform as one rooted in “fantasy,” one that would leave the Chicago Police Department “set up for failure.”
Lightfoot also said that Emanuel’s police reform proposal was “fundamentally flawed” and called for a stronger commitment to police reform. In January, Emanuel signed an agreement with outgoing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, promising to allow federal court oversight to monitor the progress of reforms with the Chicago Police Department. Since then, Emanuel has slowly back pedaled on his promise, but Lightfoot has stuck to her belief that change is seriously needed in the city’s police force.
Now, Emanuel must decide whether he should keep her or risk damaging whatever gains he has made to restore public trust in his leadership in the Black community.
In news reports, Emanuel has eluded questions about Lightfoot’s future. When a reporter asked him about his plans for Lightfoot, Emanuel said, “I’m going to look through it, and I look forward to talking to Lori, like other board members, about where we need to go.”