CHICAGO (CBS) — After a two day delay, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel got what he wanted: a green light from the city council to move forward on the 95 million dollar police and fire training academy.
But it didn’t come without another day of high-volume protest.
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story.
At a city hall rally, the alderman who forced postponement of Wednesday’s vote on funding the police academy called it 95 million dollars misspent.
“The best way to address public safety in our communities is to invest in mental health services, to invest in jobs, youth programs and education in our communities,” said 35th ward Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa.
And during public comment, opponents to the planned West Garfield Park academy pointed the finger directly at Mayor Emanuel.
“We are asking for accountability, we are asking for those funds to go to our communities,”said Erica Nansen of the #NoCopAcademy movement. “And the time has come for this city council to stop being more afraid of that man than they are of us.”
But even as demonstrators tried to drown her out, the alderman who’ll have the academy in her ward voiced support.
“Not only is it the right thing to do for public safety, it’s the right thing to do for the West Side,” said 37th ward alderman Emma Mitts.
And another West Side alderman, Walter Burnett, fired back at those claiming he should be ashamed of supporting it.
“Shame on you all who don’t have to live with drug dealers and gang bangers,” said Burnett, 27th ward. “Shame on you all who don’t get your garages burned down if they think you told the police on them.”
The vote was 39-2. Lopsided but also expected.
Mayor Emanuel said the academy will provide the kind of state-of-the-art training that’s called for in that scathing Department of Justice report on Chicago police.
But the city hasn’t found all the money to pay for the academy.