John Legend Takes Chicago Police Union To Task In Scathing Op-Ed

The musician isn't here for slander against Kim Foxx.

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| April 20 2019,

02:09 am

Musician and activist John Legend called out Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) in a recent op-ed for impeding criminal justice reform in the city. 

Legend's op-ed in The Chicago Tribune titled "The FOP is a Threat to Kim Foxx-led police reform in Chicago" is co-authored by former police officer and current executive director of the advocacy group Law Enforcement Action Partnership Neill Franklin. They write that the popular police union has launched baseless forms of harassment against Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx.

"Since taking office in 2016, Foxx increased transparency in the office, stopped prosecuting marijuana possession, reduced the use of money bail, diverted more cases out of jail and prison and back into the community, and developed a conviction integrity unit that has vacated dozens of cases," Legend and Franklin wrote.

Recently, a slew of new attacks came after the fallout surrounding Jussie Smollett's alleged racist and homophobic assault.

Smollett was charged with lying to authorities and staging the assault. However, Foxx's office stepped in and dropped all 16 charges against the 36-year-old in late-March, igniting controversy.  

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Tensions came to a head on April 1 when FOP protesters descended on Foxx's office, The Chicago Tribune reports. They claimed Smollett somehow "cheated" the system, and the 47-year-old state's attorney played a vital part in helping him get away scot-free. 

Legend and Franklin do not agree. The duo defended Foxx, calling her leadership a step in the right direction for the Windy City. She has worked diligently with Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson to lower crime and commit to improving community policing.  

Other initiatives such as expunging the records of marijuana offenders have become a major priority for her. Foxx has also facilitated mass exonerations of victims convicted from the arrests of corrupt officer Ronald Watts.

In the past, the FOP, according to the op-ed, supported officers that have committed heinous crimes while in uniform. One of those figures is Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.

"The union is a relic of the past, with a commitment to protecting all officers, even those who give it a bad name," Legend and Franklin wrote. "The FOP makes the work of mostly good, honest and dedicated officers harder and communities less safe."

Legend, who is a vocal critic of the police brutality, understands how police protect their own in high-profile police-involved shooting cases. For the authors, the FOP embodies the blue wall of silence, and they want it gone for good. 

"We’re calling on all leaders — the mayor, the state’s attorney, the police superintendent and the sheriff — to reject the politics of the FOP and relegate its destructive ideas to the dustbin of history where they belong."

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