CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago’s new temporary top cop says he’s ready to tackle Chicago’s challenges.
Charlie Beck says many of those challenges are some of the same he dealt with during his time as Los Angeles’ number one.
But as CBS 2 political investigator Dana Kozlov found out, Beck is already taking some heat from one community group.
“I just don’t love cops. I am cops,” Beck said. “I know that once CPD understands that they will understand me.”
It’s Charlie Beck’s olive branch to Chicago’s police officers, who may be wary about an outsider leading the department until a permanent superintendent is picked.
But L.A. Black Lives Matter activists say Beck’s ‘cop’ talk is exactly what Chicago should be worried about.
“All of the news coverage that we’ve seen has labeled him this reformer, this progressive. But what we experienced here in Los Angeles was anything but,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of L.A. Black Lives Matter.
Beck retired as Los Angeles’ police chief in June 2018 after nine years in that role and some controversy. Friday, Black Lives Matter L.A. sent an open letter to Chicago, stating under Chief Beck, L.A.’s police department “became the most murderous police department in the nation…” when it came to fatal police shootings.
“Give this as a warning to Chicago, especially black Chicago, that he’s a huge problem,” Abdullah said.
“First, that’s absolutely not true,” Beck said.
CBS 2 found some police shooting statistics, compiled by the Washington Post, and checked. From 2015 to 2018, the year Beck retired, Los Angeles had 58 police involved shootings. Phoenix had 59. Chicago had 31.
Beck says per capita –- L.A. is far from the worst.
“Anybody that looks at my record in Los Angeles will understand that while I have supported the vast majority of officer-involved use of force, when I see something wrong, I say it,” Beck said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot bristled at the suggestion Beck’s appointment would drive a wedge between police and Chicago’s black community.
“We have done everything we can and will continue to do to make sure that communities of color are dealt in on the success of this city,” Lightfoot said.
If you include fatal police shooting statistics through this month, Los Angeles does have the most. But that includes shootings that happened after Beck retired.