CHICAGO (CBS) — The Chicago Police Department has reprimanded two officers who violated department policy about protesting in uniform, a spokesperson tells CBS 2.
A picture on social media shows two officers in uniform going down on one knee, with their fists in the air, as many NFL players did this weekend during the National Anthem.
One of the officers’ faces is partially obscured by the fist of a civilian woman kneeling between the two men. The other officer’s face is visible, but not his name tag or badge number.
Community activist Aleta Clark posted the picture of the officers kneeling on Instagram. She said she walked into the Gresham District police station, asking the officers if they were against police brutality and racism, and if they stood with former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the kneeling movement last year. Both officers reportedly said yes, and then took a knee with Clark.
Kaepernick started kneeling during the National Anthem at 49ers games last year to protest racial injustice in America. Activists and critics of the league believe Kaepernick has been blacklisted for his protests.
Chicago Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi said the officers who took a knee with Clark were reprimanded, because department policy prohibits officers from engaging “in any type of political activity” while they are in uniform.
“I think that what they did was heroic,” Clark said. “I don’t think that anything that these brothers did — that these officers did on duty inside of the police station — was wrong.”
The commander of the Gresham District, where the photograph was taken, is handling the matter. No harsher penalties were anticipated, Guglielmi said.
“We are aware of the photo, and we will address it in the same way we have handled previous incidents in which officers have made political statements while in uniform, with a reprimand and a reminder of department policies,” CPD said in an official statement.