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      Video Shows Chicago Officer Blasting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at Black Lives Matter Protest

      Video Shows Chicago Officer Blasting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at Black Lives Matter Protest Video Shows Chicago Officer Blasting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at Black Lives Matter Protest Video Shows Chicago Officer Blasting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at Black Lives Matter Protest
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      Officer Involved

      Video Shows Chicago Officer Blasting ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ at Black Lives Matter Protest

      By VICE News

      VICE News is closely watching policing in America. Check out the Officer Involved blog here.

      Despite the Lynyrd Skynyrd plea to "turn it up" at the start of the song "Sweet Home Alabama," a Chicago police officer is facing suspension after he blasted the tune at a protest against racial discrimination last weekend.

      A report from DNAinfo says that the unnamed officer will face discipline from the Chicago Police Department.

      "The officer responsible for playing the song during Sunday's protest has come forward and will be disciplined for his actions," the department said in a statement this week. 

      "While he says he was playing the music as fan of the University of Alabama [sic], CPD fully understands sensitivities related to the song and regardless we cannot condone any behavior that may be viewed as disruptive or disrespectful to any protestor or resident," the statement continued. "As you have seen over the past couple weeks, CPD is dedicated to ensuring residents' right to free speech and peaceful assembly."

      A video of the incident shows a convoy of police vehicles escorting protesters along a street, while an officer in one of the unmarked black cruisers blares the southern song over the car's PA system. The protest was staged as part of the "Black Lives Matter" movement, which opposes police brutality against minorities.

      Similar protests have been taking place all over the US in the wake of a grand jury's decision late last month not to indict a white police officer who killed an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri. Renewed demonstrations flared up again less than two weeks later when a Staten Island grand jury cleared a white NYPD officer in the choking death of a black man in New York.

      While there is nothing overtly racist in "Sweet Home Alabama," some have interpreted the song as a show of support for former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a well-known segregationist, who is mentioned in the refrain, "In Birmingham they love the guv'nor." The song is also a popular anthem in the US' South, which has a troubled history of racism.

      The officer's claim that he was merely supporting the University of Alabama by playing the tune is plausible, as the school's Crimson Tide football team was scheduled to play the Missouri Tigers about 90 minutes after the protest.

      Topics: officer involved, police, race, sweet home alabama, chicago, chicago police, black lives matter, michael brown, eric garner

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