(Video above: Chicago police play “Sweet Home Alabama” while escorting a “Black Lives Matter” protest)
CHICAGO, Ill. — The Chicago police officer who was captured on camera blaring “Sweet Home Alabama” while escorting a “Black Lives Matter” protest to a “die in” has now been suspended by the Chicago Police Department for being “disrespectful” to the protestors.
Some of the protestors have been pushing for the Chicago Police Department to take action, saying his decision to play the song was “blatantly racist.” One of the protestors walking beside the police car even went as far as to call it “terrorism.”
The officer released a statement saying he was playing the song the weekend of the SEC Championship game because he is a “fan of the University of Alabama,” but the Chicago Police Department said it was important to suspend him for 10 days to send a message.
“(We) fully understands sensitivities related to the song and, regardless, we cannot condone any behavior that may be viewed as disruptive or disrespectful to any protester or resident… CPD is dedicated to ensuring residents’ right to free speech and peaceful assembly.”
Quoted in the Chicago Tribune article announcing the suspension was Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala.
Potok referred to “Sweet Home Alabama” as “a kind of neo-Confederate anthem” that the officers were using to “taunt” the protestors.
“It certainly does look like the officers were taunting the marchers,” he said. “I suppose there’s a tiny chance that these officers were huge University of Alabama fans, but I kind of doubt it.”
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— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) December 3, 2014