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CPD Reprimands 2 Cops Who Took A Knee, Raised A Fist While In Uniform

By Stephen Gossett in News on Sep 25, 2017 10:57PM

Two Chicago cops have reportedly been reprimanded for making political statements while in uniform after the department became aware of a photo that shows officers taking a knee, both with fists raised, inside a police station.

The image popped up in a couple of places on social media on Sunday. The photo was posted on Sunday on the Christopher Watts Is Putting Chicago To Work Facebook page, for the initiative founded by the South Shore activist of the same name. The caption reads, "That Moment when you walk into the police station and ask the Men of Color are they Against Police Brutality and Racism & they say Yes... then you ask them if they support Colin Kapernick... and they also say yes... then you ask them to Kneel.!"

The photo was also shared on Sunday on Englewood activist Aleta Clark's Instagram page, as the Sun-Times reports. (Her post uses the same caption as the one above.) Clark said in a video that was also posted on Sunday evening that she had "just left the police station, trying to get support from the European officers. Not surprisingly, not one would kneel." (Several other recent posts on her Instagram show people taking a knee and/or raising a fist, including a white man described as a 97-year-old World War II veteran.)

But the officers who did kneel have reportedly been reprimanded. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Sun-Times in a statement, "[W]e will address it in the same way we have handled previous incidents in which officers have made political statements while in uniform, with a reprimand and a reminder of department policies."

Guglielmi told CBS2 that the commander of the district where the photo was taken is handling the issue and no greater punishment is expected.

Rule 42 in the department's Rules of Conduct for officers states that "Participating in any partisan political campaign or activity" while on duty is a "prohibited act." The paper notes that the department reminded officers about the rule in January, after someone snapped a photo of a "Make America Great Again" hat resting on the dashboard of a police vehicle during Inauguration Day protests downtown.

This all comes of course in the wake of the most pronounced flashpoint yet for protests in which athletes kneel during the national anthem, a tactic that was spearheaded by quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016 and faced a barrage of condemnation from President Donald Trump over the weekend. Here in Chicago, the Bears stood and locked arms during the anthem on Sunday, while the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers stayed inside the locker room, aside from one player, Alejandro Villanueva, who came out and stood with his hand across his heart.

Martin Preib, spokesman for the Fraternal Order of Police, declined to comment, citing an open investigation.

This post has been updated.