Windy City Policy Subverts 1st Amendment Rights of Police Officers

Windy City Policy Subverts 1st Amendment Rights of Police Officers
AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

The First Amendment and Second Amendment are fine bedfellows. I often say that the ACLU should be supporting the NRA, and the NRA should be supporting the ACLU – lock-step. Well, we know that’s not how things operate, actually quite the contrary. But nonetheless, the importance of these amendments to another is not mutually exclusive, as many try to paint them. A recent citizen panel in the city of Chicago has voted in favor of a policy to “ban Chicago cops from ‘active participation’ in hate and extremist groups.”


Chicago has enough issues with the high levels of crime and the city’s continual inability to keep it in check. Like many progressive strongholds, the anti-liberty, anti-gun, city is pushing for policies that don’t get at the root cause of their real problems, but rather politicizes everything else.

A civilian-led police oversight panel voted unanimously Monday to approve a new policy that would ban Chicago cops from “active participation” in hate and extremist groups.

The move came after the Chicago Police Department investigated — but took little or no action — against members of the force who were found to have connections to extremist and anti-government groups, including the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters.

The Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability also announced Monday that the city’s Office of the Inspector General had reacted positively to its request to “investigate recent allegations of officer involvement with extremists or hate-based organizations.”

The panel’s outreach to Inspector General Deborah Witzburg emerged last month in direct response to a recent investigation by WBEZ, the Sun-Times and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project that found dozens of current and former Chicago cops were among the Illinois law enforcement officials who once joined the Oath Keepers.

In no way am I advocating for or against engaging in membership to any of the named groups. And that’s the point. It should be up to an individual to what groups they’re to align themselves with, and for the city to adopt a policy that bans officers from joining a group of their liking, is beyond a subversion of the First Amendment.


This is not to cast any judgment on those groups, but rather the concept of a panel getting to decide who are to be considered “extremists or hate-based organizations.” The wide and broad brush strokes that the citizen led group is putting down are down right scary. These are the actions of banana republics and the start of squashing any and all political challenges of opposing ideologies.

The newly approved policy is intended to spell out in the greatest detail yet what groups cops should not join if they want to avoid discipline.

“Given the seriousness and urgency of this issue, we feel it’s important we vote on this policy today,” Commissioner Remel Terry said. “We will continue our work to ensure that the Chicago Police Department effectively implements this policy, monitors the implementation and provides regular reporting on the outcome.”

The policy expands on an existing departmental order barring officers from joining “criminal organizations” by prohibiting cops from participating in organizations that use force to deny others’ rights, achieve ideological goals or advocate for “systemic illegal prejudice, oppression, or discrimination.”

Perhaps most notably, the policy prohibits membership in groups that “seek to overthrow, destroy, or alter the form of government of the United States by constitutional means.”

The commenters go on to invoke the mighty January 6th storming, occupation, and complete crumbling of the Capitol Building – which did not really happen that way, in listing off the reasons for barring police officers from membership of these groups.


More troubling than the specific targeting and naming of what they label as “extremist and anti-government groups,” which includes “the Oath Keepers, Proud Boys and Three Percenters,” is the policy prohibiting officers from joining groups that “seek to overthrow, destroy, or alter the form of government of the United States by constitutional means.”

That’s a bridge too far. Who decides what groups are trying to “alter the form of government?” By using “constitutional means” no less? Isn’t that the point of seeking change in the government, to do so in a constitutional manner, versus a subversive/violent one?

In the First Amendment, aside from the understood inherent right to association with such groups, it is enumerated that people have the right “to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” It could be implied that petitioning the government for change in one way or another is in fact trying to alter government via a constitutional process.

By virtue of these definitions, police officers would not be able to join their local GOP or Democratic organizations – let that sink in.

I expect nothing less than totalitarian garbage from Chicago whenever I’m reading news about the city. The city is currently dealing with an influx of wanted/unwanted illegal immigrants – getting mixed signals here – with officials serving their “guests” eviction notices, gang crime is out of of control, the drug epidemic is a total blight on the communities, and the good people of Chicago thinks this is the perfect time to further stress and tax an already failing police force.


Bravo! Whatever political or membership organizations the remaining officers of Chicago align themselves with should be at the bottom of a long list of things to address after the many failures of the Aldermen, Mayor, and other city officials. Clearly, as we’ve always known, it’s the guns that are the problem in the Windy City, pay no attention to the constant and continual abuses and beratement of Chicago’s finest.

One thing we can rest assured of, Chicago won’t be seeing a club or group assembled consisting of police officers who are unhappy with city officials, want to see change, and seek petitioning for such change, that’d be against the policy. I think that also means no union for them. Well played, Chicagoians. Well played?

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