Via the Chicago Tribune:
On his first full day as president of Chicago’s largest police union, Officer Kevin Graham appeared at a news conference to address reporters seeking details of his plan for leading the embattled rank-and-file of the police force.
With cameras and reporters ready at the Fraternal Order of Police lodge in the West Town neighborhood, Graham spoke for one minute, offered no specifics, said “thank you” and left without taking questions.
Graham’s brief appearance the day after he won election to the post did little to define his approach to various issues facing the union and Police Department — including impending contract negotiations laden with political significance.
Those negotiations will take place amid the continued reverberations of a white officer’s videotaped shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. The release of video of that incident in November 2015 led to ongoing calls to overhaul the department, and advocates for reform have called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reject provisions that were in prior FOP contracts that gave officers protections from disciplinary investigations.
Among the changes pressed by advocates are allowing anonymous complaints against officers, reworking a provision allowing officers 24 hours to make statements after a shooting and no longer allowing officers to amend statements after watching video of an incident.
On Thursday morning, City Council Black Caucus Chairman Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, said the 18-member group he leads will vote against a new police contract if reforms of that type aren’t included. He also said he has enough support from aldermen outside the caucus to kill a proposed contract.
Graham has not answered or returned phone calls from the Tribune, and a union official and officer who has acted as his spokesman, Martin Preib, asked for questions via email and referred a reporter to the positions stated on a blog set up for the union election slate Graham led, called “The Blue Voice.”
Preib responded to emailed questions with, “We’re not going to negotiate the contract in the media.”
In news releases, Graham has blasted the past union administration, the media and federal authorities who have criticized the department.