CHICAGO — Racial slurs used over the Chicago Police Department's radio frequencies this weekend may have come from a source outside the department, according to the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
The Chicago Police Department and the office of emergency management is investigating the use of the "n-word" that was interjected into a conversation between a dispatcher and officer Sunday morning.
A spokesperson for the office of emergency management said the person saying "typical f------ n------" appears to be using a radio with characteristics differing from those officers use.
"We have reviewed the audio from this incident and we do not believe the comments were made through the use of a city-programmed radio as the audio in question lacks identifying characteristics of an official police radio," said Melissa Stratton, spokeswoman for the Office of Emergency Management and Communication, which oversees city dispatchers.
"At this time, it is unknown who the unauthorized user is but OEMC will work with CPD as they investigate the matter," Stratton said in a statement.
The comment appears to have been made at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, when multiple officers and a 911 dispatcher had some form of miscommunication over the Police Department's radio channel that covers Morgan Park and other Far South Side neighborhoods.
"Typical f-----' n-----," said the person, a man. He then says "Black lives matter my ass" or "Black lives matter, man" before repeating the racial slur.
Police Spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department is looking into the situation.
"The statements made are absolutely unacceptable and Supt. [John] Escalante has ordered an immediate internal-affairs investigation into this incident," Guglielmi said in a statement. "Should the investigation reveal that a member of the Police Department made the statements, he will be immediately suspended and disciplinary proceedings will be launched."
DNAinfo Chicago could not independently verify whether the man using the slurs and disparaging words was a Chicago Police officer.
The remarks come at a time when the city is working to lift up the Police Department's standing in black communities following the shooting death and fallout from the Laquan McDonald case.
Also, the racial slur was used over the radio a little more than a day after protesters and police clashed outside of presidential hopeful Donald Trump's rally in Chicago Friday.
Activist Will Calloway and reporter Brandon Smith, who pursued the legal case that got the Laquan McDonald video released, spoke out against police racism outside City Hall Monday.
"I think it speaks for itself," Calloway said, citing the recording as proof of "systemic racism that's going on and that's present in the Police Department."
Calloway called on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to "get to the bottom of this" and fire any officers responsible. He also blamed Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, saying, "This is the environment Anita Alvarez has made by not prosecuting any officers" in police shootings.
Smith added that he had made a new Freedom of Information Act request to the Police Department and the Independent Police Review Authority seeking any recordings, text messages or emails bearing racial slurs. Smith said the Department had denied that request, saying it was impossible, but he renewed his call for those materials to be sought out and released.
In a clip of the audio that has been circulating on social media, an officer directs the racial slur at a dispatcher and another officer, who was asking the dispatcher if she was trying to get his attention.
"It's too early to be bothering you," said the dispatcher in response to the officer's question. "Good morning."
The officer then playfully asks the dispatcher how many boyfriends she has, to which the dispatcher asks the man why he is prodding into her business.
"Why you over here?" the dispatcher said.
The next audible words is the racial slur.
After that, a person who appears to be an officer tells the dispatcher to "find out what radio that comment came from."
The dispatcher said she cannot determine that but said she was notifying her manager about the slur.
"You know we don't get radio numbers, but I'm already hollering for my supervisor," the dispatcher, a woman, said.
Another person comes on the radio to then say: "Black lives matter, man. F****** n*****."
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