Chicago FOP strikes back against local media; threatens defamation suit
The Chicago police union has reached its limit with the local media’s portrayal of the CPD as little more than a gang of armed racists.
Chicago FOP spokesman Martin Preib eviscerated the media in his April 8 blog, THE WATCH, over some local reporters’ reactions to the FOP rally last week against Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx for dropping charges against Jussie Smollett, and over her earlier exonerations of some convicted killers.
In addition, lawyers representing the FOP sent a threatening letter to the publisher and editor of the Chicago Reader over reporter Maya Dukmasova’s April 2 tweet: “Yep, the leadership of the Chicago police union proudly embraces white supremacists.”
“The statement is a textbook example of defamation,” wrote Timothy Grace of the Chicago law firm of Gottreich, Grace & Thompson in the April 5 letter. “The statement is blatantly false, offensive and malicious. The FOP is a cross section of many different ethnic and racial backgrounds, both men and women.”
Grace demanded a “retraction and apology” in 72 hours, or “we will be forced to file the appropriate action in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking damages, costs and attorney fees.”
Preib told Chicago City Wire (CCW) the FOP has yet to hear back from the paper. Reader publisher, Tracy Baim, wrote to CCW in an email in response to a request for comment: “We have received no communications from anyone on this, including from the FOP.”
Several other reporters reacted to last week’s FOP rally by tweeting that members of the Proud Boys, identified as a white nationalist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, attended the FOP demonstration outside Foxx’s headquarters at 69 W. Washington St.
Shannon Heffernan of WBEZ public radio asked the FOP for a comment: “I think this is a fair point,” she tweeted. “When I originally wrote I said: ‘I’m not sure we will be doing a story or not, and I know you don’t have control over who shows up, but to see if you know they were there and if you had any reaction.’”
Preib wrote in The Watch: “What a loaded, calculated question. Does Heffernan truly think that police officers would knowingly allow members of a racist hate group to attend a protest without the FOP members verbally attacking them? Does Heffernan think the FOP wouldn’t immediately denounce such a group? Would members allow hate group advocates to sneak into photos along with other FOP members?"
“Heffernan’s question,” he went on, “was a sign of two things: how desperate the leftist media was to gin up some racism angle against the police, and their willingness to use it to poison the claims made against Foxx based on her losing performance as a prosecutor.”
Preib said that later in the day the FOP received an email from Zach Stafford, a reporter with The Advocate.
“Hope all is well,” Stafford wrote. “We are hearing rumors that the Proud Boys, a well-known hate group founded by Gavin McInnes, was present with the FOP’s protesters yesterday. Can you confirm that they joined you all in your protests against Foxx? And did you all coordinate this at all prior the event?”
“Coordinate it?” Preib wrote. “Is the FOP working with hate groups now?“
Additional reporters chimed in along the same lines, proof of what the police already knew, Preib wrote – “the Chicago media is at war with the police.”
“The media will do anything to vilify the police in the public imagination, even if it means ignoring overwhelming evidence that a police officer is innocent, even if it means advocating for a convicted killer to be released into a minority community within the city (racism anyone?).”