Police officer who put middle fingers up at protesters stripped of his powers

‘The officer used a vulgar, offensive gesture directed at a member of the public while on duty and in uniform’

James Crump
Tuesday 09 June 2020 23:27 BST
John Cusack attacked by police wielding batons as he films Chicago protests

A Chicago police officer who raised his middle fingers to demonstrators during George Floyd protests last week, has been assigned to desk duty.

During the protests last Thursday, an officer was photographed raising the middle fingers of both of his hands at protesters, as police drove away from the demonstrations.

The unnamed officer has since been stripped of his police powers by superintendent David Brown, according to a statement from the Chicago Police Department.

“The officer used a vulgar, offensive gesture directed at a member of the public while on duty and in uniform,” the statement read. “The member will be limited to administrative duties at the direction of the superintendent.”

On Monday, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that she had been shown a photograph of the officer “giving people the finger” at a protest.

“We’ll find that person and in my view, that person needs to be immediately stripped of their police power and start the process for firing him,” she said.

The mayor added: “They forfeited their right to be a Chicago police officer.”

Protests have taken place across the US, following the death of Mr Floyd, who died after being detained by Derek Chauvin, who at the time was a Minneapolis police officer, but has now been charged with second degree murder and manslaughter.

The protests, in opposition of police brutality against African Americans, started in Minneapolis, but quickly spread to Chicago and New York, among cities in every state in the US.

Police have clashed with protesters all over the US, and some officers have been filmed using excessive force and antagonising peaceful protesters.

Nine instances of excessive force by police were filmed in the space of a week, during the protests, according to CNN.

One incident involved an officer in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, pushing a black protester to the floor, who was kneeling peacefully at a demonstration.

Last week, footage circulated on social media of a Chicago police officer shouting homophobic slurs at a protester. That incident is also under investigation.

During a press conference last Friday, Ms Lightfoot praised a majority of the city’s police officers, but made it clear that she and the department would not tolerate officers who crossed the line.

“While I believe that the vast majority of Chicago Police officers have done their job well and, under difficult circumstances, have exercised restraint, unfortunately we’re seeing evidence of some who have not,” she said.

“We will not tolerate people who cross the line. We will not tolerate excessive force. We will not tolerate profanity and homophobic comments that demean the badge, demean the honour of being a Chicago Police officer and demean the value of who we are as Chicagoans. We will not tolerate that.”

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