Two Chicago police officers will be reprimanded for kneeling in solidarity with protesters against police brutality. The two law enforcement officers agreed to kneel with an activist for a picture that went viral on social media.
On Sept. 25, community activist Aleta Clark entered a Chicago police station and asked two African-American law enforcement officers if they would join her in a symbolic protest against police brutality. Clark, who founded “Hugs No Slugs,” a group that provides support for inner-city youth, said that she was inspired by ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick's controversial decision to protest by kneeling during the national anthem.
Clark took to Instagram to share the image of her and the two officers kneeling, their fists raised in the air.
"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 to Kneel.!" Clark wrote in the image caption.
The CPD subsequently announced that the two officers would be reprimanded for the social media image because they had violated the department's rule against demonstrating any political stance while on duty.
"We are aware of the photo, and we will address it in the same way we handled previous incidents in which officers have made political statements while in uniform, with a reprimand and a reminder of department policies," CPD spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
Guglielmi did not disclose what disciplinary action the department took against the two officers.
On Sept. 26, Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago stated that he supported the CPD's decision to punish the two officers.
"There's a difference between an athlete wearing their uniform [and kneeling during the national anthem] and a police officer who is paid by the public who's wearing theirs," Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times. "And the police department has been consistent."
The mayor added that he believed Clark's willingness to walk into a police department to discuss police brutality signaled that Chicago was "making progress on building ties of relationship, trust and working together."
Meanwhile, Clark blasted the CPD's decision to reprimand the two officers.
"These officers took a knee against racial injustice," Clark told WFLD. "They should be acknowledged and appreciated ... I think that if you are going to stand for something, that it should get national attention because that's what our culture is missing. Something positive to stand for."
On Sept. 22, Kaepernick and other NFL football players' protests against police brutality were thrust into the national spotlight when President Donald Trump called for team owners to fire athletes who kneel during the national anthem, according to The Washington Post.
"Wouldn't you love to see these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say: 'Get that son of a b***h off the field right now. Out!" Trump said to cheers during a rally in Huntsville, Alabama. "He's fired. He's fired!"