CHICAGO — President Donald Trump is sending help in the form of federal agents to Mayor Lori Lightfoot to help on the crime front in Chicago. The mayor’s response was somewhat of a forced agreement, as long as it’s not a situation like Portland.
The mayor at first pushed back against Trump’s threats to send federal agents to the city. The president said he wanted to send them to fix the city’s gun violence problem.
This weekend, 150 federal agents will be deployed to Chicago. Originally, fearing it would be like Portland, where agents clad in military style uniforms without names or insignia were in the area, the mayor resisted. But her understanding Tuesday is that’s not going to be the case.
Instead, Lightfoot said the federal agents will work alongside Chicago Police Department officers which is not unprecedented, and unlike in Portland, the U.S. attorney for the northern district of Illinois, John Lausch, will help.
CPD Superintendent David Brown says he welcomes the extra manpower but president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police John Catanzara wasn’t so diplomatic.
“She endorses and supports that now,” he said. “Why didn’t she ask for that a while ago? Because she’s too proud and too arrogant to ask for any help from President Trump even though he repeatedly offered it to you. But now all of a sudden it’s a good idea. Well at least she’s finally come to the table and admitted she has no control over this.”
Trump has threatened to send-in federal agents to various US cities, to help restore what he refers as law and order. But the ACLU says sending in the feds, without being asked to do so, is a violation of state protections highlighted in the constitution.
Protesters took to Federal Plaza Monday, after learning Trump plans to send the 150 federal agents to Chicago to help control the city’s deadly issue of gun violence.
“If they try it, I’m going to use every tool at my disposal to stop them,” Lightfoot said during an interview on MSNBC.
Trump and his administration have been critical of Lightfoot, saying she’s not properly addressing the issue. The mayor initially had pushback for Trump after he said he would be sending the agents into the city.
Catanzara sent a letter to the White House Saturday, calling Lightfoot a “complete failure” who is either unwilling or unable to maintain law and order in Chicago. He asked for the feds to step-in and assist Chicago police.
“We’ve got an unhinged leader of the Fraternal Order of Police who is craven in trying to generate attention. We’re not going to have people who don’t know our streets. Don’t know our neighborhoods, and then are engaging in clearly unconstitutional conduct, operating at will in our cities,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot expressed her outrage on primetime cable Monday night, saying the police superintendent is not in favor of the feds coming in.
The Chicago Police Department issued a statement, saying the following:
“If federal agents are deployed, it is critical that they coordinate with the Chicago Police Department and work alongside us to fight violent crime in Chicago.”
On Monday, Lightfoot sent a letter to Trump telling him there was no need to send in federal agents. She referenced this weekend’s clashes with protesters in Portland.
“Having these armed camouflaged individuals, no insignia on, no name plates, grabbing people off the street, that’s unconstitutional. So our democracy is at stake. I’ll be darned if I let anybody, even if their name is Mr. President bring those kind of troops to our city and try to take off our residents, that’s not going to happen in Chicago,” Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot is one of six mayors who signed-off on another letter to the attorney general and head of homeland security, calling for the withdrawal of these federal agents and the threat of sending them.
The mayors of Atlanta, DC, Seattle and Portland says it’s politically motivated, since the cities being threatened are all run by Democrats.
U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth, Dick Durbin and 19 others are preparing to introduce legislation that would block the deployment and jurisdiction of unmarked federal agents sent to U.S. cities.
Gov. JB Pritzker also said earlier Tuesday that he opposes unidentifiable federal agents being brought into the state similar to what happened in Portland.