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Anti-Reformist Challenger Tops Dean Angelo To Head Up Police Union

By Stephen Gossett in News on Apr 12, 2017 10:41PM

Screenshot from 'The Contract'

The controversial, ever-outspoken Dean Angelo is out as head of Chicago's major police union. Angelo lost to challenger Kevin Graham, a patrolman and stalwart opponent of police reform in Chicago, in Wednesday's runoff election.

Graham significantly bested his incumbent rival, landing more than 56 percent of the vote, compared to 43.79 percent. The turnout was considerable: 9,811 votes cast, according to reports.

Angelo was not immediately available for comment, but he told the Sun-Times ahead of his loss that rank-and-file disaffection in the face of media and political disparagement was to blame. Low morale among officers has been a fairly common refrain for the outgoing leader.

The defeated union chief told the paper:

“You have a no-one-has-your-back mentality in our ranks more prevalent now than ever before. Media and politicians have demonized this job over the last couple of years. Then they wonder why people in the community don’t want to work with or trust the police. How do you trust Satan reincarnated that you’ve created?”

Angelo has been outspoken—sometimes outrageously so—in his pro-police policies and pushback against political opposition—although Graham could prove to be even more hardline. Late last year, the outgoing FOP boss appeared to acknowledge and defend a code of silence among police officers in Chicago while being interviewed in an Al Jazeera documentary.

And last month, Angelo said that police care more about black lives than "a lot of black politicians." Those comments followed an attempt by the Black Caucus and other aldermen to fundamentally reform the police contract. Meanwhile, Graham is expected to prove as equally vociferous, if not more so, against a contract re-work.

Angelo in the past didn't officially comment as to whether the union supports a consent decree to enforce recommendations made by the Obama-era Department of Justice, which found a pattern of unconstitutional abuses in the Chicago police department. Graham on the other hand was fiercely critical of Angelo for cooperating with the DOJ's probe, and he reportedly welcomed Attorney General Jeff Sessions' internal review that casts doubt on a potential decree.

Angelo and other police union leaders met with President Donald Trump and other high-ranking administration officials late last month. After the meeting, he said that Trump is "on our wavelength" and "truly supportive of us."