CHICAGO (WLS/CNN) - It's not just football players drawing criticism for "taking a knee." A pair of officers were punished for taking part.
Aleta Clark knew she would be stirring up some controversy when she walked into the Sixth District Police Station on Sunday and asked two police officers to kneel with her in support of NFL players who were kneeling during the national anthem.
"I think that they should not be reprimanded. They shouldn't get any form of punishment for being humans and knowing what's right. They kneeled for what was right. They kneeled for what was just. That's them serving and protecting," Clark said.
Police said the two officers will have an hour of refresher training along with their reprimand, but they will not face suspensions.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says there's a teachable moment in all of this kneeling flap and questions of people's patriotism.
He also saw a positive in what this picture might symbolize.
"You have a community activist who felt comfortable enough to ask police officers, so the first symbol is we're making progress on our community relations," Emanuel said.
Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina Church sent a letter to CPD brass and the officers praising them for taking a stand for those who feel abandoned and forgotten.
"I think that their actions do more to bring credibility and trust than probably 100 CAPS meetings because what they're saying is we're not afraid to identify with the neighborhood," he said.
Clark said this one incident should not be reason for the mayor or anyone else to be crowing about improved police community relations.
"Consistency is key, unless the entire police department is going to kneel, then I don't think the police department should gain credit for this," she said.
Police said Clark also asked other officers to also take part in the protest, but they declined.
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