Blackwell family: Emails show firing was racially motivated

Blackwell spokeswoman: Firing was racially motivated

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Emails between Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Mayor John Cranley outlined how the two Democratic mayors dealt with federal oversight on police. A relationship Emanuel ranged from being "friendly" to "pains in the a--."

In the exchange, Cranley said he "inherited a bad police chief," referring to Jeffrey Blackwell.

"We fired him, immediate [sic] black radio and electes [sic] went nuts," Cranley wrote in a December 2015 email to the Chicago mayor. "In my opinion we survived this decision because of reservoir of respect for black cops by the community."

The email came from Emanuel's private e-mail. Nearly 3,000 pages of emails from his personal account were released Wednesday. The move came from a settlement the Chicago Tribune and the Better Government Association reached with Chicago.

The suit was motivated by Chicago officials conducting city business with private e-mail accounts.

A spokeswoman for Blackwell said this e-mail revelation confirms Blackwell's firing was "racially motivated."

"Cranley writes that he wanted to inherited African American police chief gone so he pitted the city's black groups to accomplish his goal," Iris Roley, spokeswoman for Jeffrey Blackwell said.

Blackwell was dismissed from his position as chief of police in September 2015.

City Manager Harry Black said Blackwell was let go because he created "a work environment of hostility and retaliation," and had other officers back him up.

"It's very difficult to watch colleagues actually break down and not be able to function as a result of the atmosphere," Scotty Johnson with the Cincinnati Police Department said.

His family released a statement to FOX19 NOW saying the emails confirm that the firing of Blackwell was racially motivated. The statement goes on to say that, "Cranley wanted his inherited African American police chief gone, so he pitted the city's black groups to accomplish his goal."

Eliot Isaac, an African American, took charge afterward.

A representative for Mayor John Cranley said they do not wish to comment on the released email exchange.

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