Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s proposal for an expensive new police academy picked up a new, high-profile critic Wednesday: Chance the Rapper, an acclaimed hip-hop artist and Chicago native who’s become a fixture in city politics.
In the wake of a scathing federal investigation into Chicago’s police department, Emanuel proposed a $95 million police and firefighter training center in July to get the department back on its feet after the Justice Department found it had “severely deficient training” and used excessive force on people of color.
“Financially, this proposed plan doesn’t make sense. We don’t have $95 million,” Chance said.
Instead, he asked the council to use the money to fund mental health programs and Chicago’s beleaguered public education system, arguing “there’s a lot of ways to transform the city that don’t have anything to do with police training.”
The artist has raised and donated millions of dollars to Chicago public schools, which have struggled in recent years under widespread school closures and looming interest payments of over $1 billion in the coming decades.
His comments didn’t reach Emanuel directly though — the mayor left the meeting before Chance spoke.