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COPA Says Officer Who Used Homophobic Slur Should Be Fired

CHICAGO (CBS) — A Chicago Police officer could be fired after an investigation confirmed he was the one caught on camera using a homophobic slur at a downtown protest in May.

CBS 2 first reported the incident shortly after a video of the officer, now identified for the first time as Matthew Drinnan, calling a protester a "f****ng f****t" circulated online. Shortly after, a Chicago Police Department (CPD) spokesperson confirmed Drinnan would be stripped of his police powers.

Now records obtained by CBS 2 through a Freedom of Information Act request show the department's Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommended Drinnan be fired, although he won't be officially removed from the department until an additional review process is completed.


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In the video, it's unclear who the officer is. But after obtaining surveillance video and reviewing photographs shared by a photographer who witnessed the incident, COPA determined Drinnan was the officer who used the slur.

In a letter dated June 9, 2020 obtained by CBS 2 COPA Chief Administrator Sydney Roberts asked CPD Superintendent David Brown to relieve Drinnan of his powers.

"Officer Drinnan's actions, which were captured on video and have been widely circulated in the media, have brought significant discredit to the Department," Roberts wrote. "Furthermore, Officer Drinnan's use of a homophobic slur casts serious doubt on his ability to serve our community without bias or prejudice."


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Records obtained by CBS 2 show COPA determined Drinnan violated department policy on verbal abuse, as well as the department's prohibition of bias in police activity.


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CPD Officer Matthew Drinnan's Employee ID card and badges after he surrendered them during the investigation into his use of a homophobic slur.


CBS 2 talked to the man who shot the video that ultimately led to COPA's recommendation, Kyle Cunningham.

"Having a homophobic cop sets us back so many years," Cunningham said. "It's really unnerving to know that the people in uniform who are supposed to protect us are actively going against us."

This was the first misconduct allegation against Drinnan, who has been on the force since February 2017, according to data from the Invisible Institute.

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