Rank-and-file Chicago police officers have voted for a new leader of their union as the department is under scrutiny for its practices.
The Fraternal Order of Police announced Wednesday that Officer Kevin Graham captured 56.2 percent of the vote to defeat incumbent Dean Angelo’s 43.7 percent. There were 9,730 ballots cast in the election.
Graham had criticized Angelo for cooperating with a U.S. Justice Department investigation into Chicago police practices. Graham was part of a slate of candidates that called itself “The Blue Voice.” On its website, the group promises to be tougher in contract negotiations and to confront what they call unfair media coverage of police.
The vote comes as the Chicago Police Department is under intense scrutiny due to the 2014 fatal shooting by Officer Jason Van Dyke of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The shooting of the black teenager resulted in first-degree murder charges against the white officer.
The vote also come as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration and the union begin negotiating over a new police contract. In its report on Chicago Police Department practices, the Justice Department heavily criticized the current contract, saying it is is partly to blame for a majority of police misconduct cases not being fully investigated. Of the 30,000 complaints made against Chicago officers during the last five years, 98 percent of cases resulted in no discipline, according to the Justice Department’s report.
Federal investigators also said the FOP’s contract added “obstacles” to disciplining officers in some misconduct cases because the contract allows officers to correct statements in misconduct investigations if they are contradicted by video evidence.
The FOP’s current contract expires June 30.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.