Chicago Officer Faces Suspension For Playing "Sweet Home Alabama" At Protest

| by Will Hagle

A Chicago police officer is facing disciplinary action for his choice of music at a protest in the city last weekend. According to the Chicago Tribune, the officer could be suspended for 10 days if that course of action is approved by Superintendent Garry McCarthy. The officer's wrong deed was simply that he was caught on video playing Lynryd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” from his squad car as he oversaw the protest last Saturday. 

That video was captured by Gabriel Michael, a 30-year-old Chicago resident that attended the protests against police violence. Michael claimed that he viewed the song as a glorification of racist, Southern values. 

“Some of the lyrics in themselves aren’t racist … but I know it’s also been co-opted by groups, maybe bigoted groups, as an anthem of Southern pride and those Confederate-type values. That’s what was so jarring to me. To hear that playing from a police car at the end of a protest against police brutality and the murder of African-Americans, it was just jarring,” Michael said. 

Although an official police statement claimed that the officer was listening to the song because he is a “fan of the University of Alabama” and wanted to support their football matchup in the SEC Championship that day, the Chicago Police Department also claimed it “fully understands sensitivities related to that song.” The statement also claims “Regardless, we cannot condone any behavior that may be viewed as disruptive or disrespectful to any protestor or resident.”

The department is currently investigating the officer's true intent in playing the song.

Sources: The Chicago Tribune, STL Today / Image Source: WikiCommons