Chicago police officers elected a new union president Wednesday who vows to fight the “biased, anti-Police media.”
Kevin Graham, a 21-year veteran of the force, defeated incumbent Dean Angelo Sr., who has served as president for three years, 56.2 percent to 43.8 percent after 9,730 ballots were cast. The leadership change comes as the department faces intense scrutiny from city officials and the media over allegations of misconduct.
“Though we were outspent nearly five to one and were subject to biased election rules and rulings that placed us at significant disadvantage, the members of FOP, both retired and active, have spoken loud and clear,” Graham said in a statement posted to a Facebook page Wednesday. “FOP members want a lodge that will fight for them,” he continued.
“We will no longer be victimized by a biased, anti-Police media,” Graham said on his blog, The Blue Voice.
Members of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 (FOP), Which represents Chicago’s 12,000-plus police officers, have been demoralized by what Angelo describes as an anti-police movement within the city.
“Everyone’s frustrated. Very, very, very frustrated on this job. Morale is at the lowest I’ve ever seen,” Angelo told the Chicago Sun Times Wednesday, anticipating a loss. “You have a no-one-has-your-back mentality in our ranks more prevalent now than ever before,” Angelo continued, blasting the media and politicians for “demonizing officers.”
The campaign for union president was contentious at times, with Graham going as far as claiming Angelo “neglected retirees” during the race, and holding harsh sentiments towards the media.
“We look forward to immediately preparing for the upcoming contract negotiations, fighting the anti-police movement in the city and obtaining fair due process and discipline for our members,” Graham said.
Chicago Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made changes to police training and discipline, but has also been criticized for a “rushed” response that has also been characterized as “insufficient.”
Police officers in Chicago have been under intense scrutiny following a scathing report from the U.S. Department of Justice. The city has seen an influx in violence and homicides, capturing the attention of a nation.
Emanuel, who will be tasked with negotiating a new contract with the incoming union president, congratulated Graham and acknowledged Angelo’s leadership as a”forceful voice” for officers “during a time of change.”
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