- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The National Fraternal Order of Police called Tuesday for Democrats to denounce Rep. Bobby Rush after he disparaged the officers’ union as the “sworn enemy of black people” at a press conference for Chicago prosecutor Kim Foxx.

“Bobby Rush is an embarrassment to the city of Chicago and the U.S. House of Representatives,” NFOP President Chuck Canterbury said in a statement.

Mr. Canterbury asked the Illinois Democratic Party and the House Democratic Caucus “to condemn these remarks and insist that he retract his statement and offer an apology to the law enforcement officers in Chicago and nationwide that he has so viciously maligned.”

At the Friday press event, Mr. Rush joined other Chicago progressive leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, in defending Cook County State’s Attorney Ms. Foxx for her office’s decision last month to drop 16 felony charges against “Empire” co-star Jussie Smollett stemming from an alleged hate-crime hoax.

“The FOP is the sworn enemy of black people,” Mr. Rush said. “For over 50 years, the FOP has always taken the position that black people can be shot down in the street by members of the Chicago police department and suffer no consequences.”

The Illinois Democrat added, “Let’s be clear. Kim Foxx, her battle is with the FOP and all of their cohorts.”

Activist Ja’Mal Green praised Ms. Foxx for her record since her 2016 election and slammed the FOP as the “blue Klux Klan.”

“We have all white-men FOP getting up, looking like the blue Klux Klan to us, all in uniform, coming out against the first black woman state’s attorney who has exonerated dozens, who has decided not to prosecute, or her office decided not to prosecute, a low-level felony,” Mr. Green said.

Ms. Foxx, who also attended the rally organized by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, had no immediate reaction to the comments, but said during her remarks that she wondered if racism were a factor in the outrage over the Smollett decision.

Those leading the charge against the Smollett decision include Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, formerly chief of staff for President Barack Obama, and police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who is black.

The Chicago FOP has called for a special prosecutor to review the handling of the case, as has retired state appellate Judge Sheila O’Brien, who also asked for a judge outside Cook County to make the call, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Columnist Kristen McQueary said it was time to retire Mr. Rush, who has served for more than 20 years in Congress.

“This is what Rush is really good at: flipping tables,” she said in a Monday op-ed. “He turned legitimate questions regarding Foxx’s handling of a seemingly solid police investigation into an attack on cops. This is what he does. Don’t let him do it here.”

In his statement, Mr. Canterbury said the congressman, who co-founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, “has built his entire career on exploiting racial divisions through inflammatory rhetoric designed to inspire fear amongst those he supposedly represents.”

“It should come as no surprise that his latest statement describing the Fraternal Order of Police as a ‘sworn enemy of black people’—a false, hateful and offensive statement to the men and women sworn to keep Chicago and its citizens safe, as well as those officers walking their beats in every community in our nation,” Mr. Canterbury said.

Mr. Smollett was charged with making false statements to police after reporting that he was attacked Jan. 29 by two men on a freezing Chicago night who put a noose around his neck and called him racist and homophobic slurs.

The prosecution did not require Mr. Smollett to make a statement of guilt before dropping the charges against him, which has been described by other prosecutors as unusual, and he has continued to maintain his innocence.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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