A Chicago alderman said that city officials do not give enough support to police, following the fatal shooting of Chicago officer Ella French.
“It’s an utter failure in the judicial system,” Democratic 19th Ward Alderman Matt O’Shea O’Shea said, noting that the issue is complicated. “We see thousands of criminals released. When I talk to police officers on the street, I hear repeatedly they feel that leadership in the city, people in the city, do not support them.”
O’Shea added that the number of police officers in the city has fallen by 1,000 compared to a couple years ago, citing retirements and a diminished number of people going to the police academy. Chicago Police told Fox News it did not have data on how many sworn officers there are today compared to previous years, directing the outlet to its Freedom of Information Act department for the information.
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The comments came after French, 29, was shot and killed on Saturday night during a traffic stop. She is the first officer since 2018 to be killed in the line of duty in the city.
“I don’t think the gangbangers have any fear of the police,” said former Chicago Police Superintendent Phil Cline, who now leads the Police Memorial Foundation which will be giving $60,000 to French’s family.
“The mother’s going through a traumatic incident here, so we’ll reach out to the family and we’re gonna give mom a check for $60,000 dollars cause there’s gonna be expenses,” Cline added.
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Mayor Lori Lightfoot visited French’s partner, who was also critically injured in the shooting, in the hospital on Saturday. During the visit, more than two dozen officers were seen turning their back on the mayor as she approached them.
“It looked like it had been choreographed,” a source told the Chicago Sun-Times.
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The father of the male officer also “excoriated” the Democratic mayor and blamed her for his son’s injuries, according to the outlet.
“In a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected,” the mayor’s office told Fox News of the incident.
The office added that “the Mayor spoke to a range of officers that tragic night and sensed the overwhelming sentiment was about concern for their fallen colleagues.”
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Lightfoot’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on O’Shea’s remarks.
Chicago faced an increase in murders for the first half of 2021, with at least 336 homicides recorded from January through the end of June. The number is two more murders than in 2020, but 33 percent more than 2019’s 252 homicides.
Shootings also spiked by 12% compared to 2020 and 53% compared to 2019.
Another Chicago alderman, Anthony Napolitano, warned earlier this summer that the crime is now also seeping into the suburbs, and blamed an anti-cop agenda in the city for the rise in crime.
“We’ve been saying this was coming for the last five or six years that I’ve been in office, the rate of attrition, we are not keeping up with it. They’re not actively going out looking for more police officers to take this job. You actually have city council members pushing to defund the police department, take more money away from them, allocate it to other departments,” Napolitano told Fox News in June. “We’re pushing a boulder up the hill right now. And if we don’t get all on the same team and we’re not all working in the same direction, we’re going to lose our city as quick as we can believe it.”
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Police departments across the country are currently struggling to hire more officers to the force, following last year’s summer of riots and protests demanding departments be defunded. There has been a 45% increase in the retirement rate and a nearly 20% increase in resignations from officers in 2020-2021 compared to the previous year, according to a June survey from the Police Executive Research Forum.