CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot made her first public appearance Tuesday since the violent holiday weekend in Chicago that left 18 people dead and 100 people shot.
Lightfoot addressed the violence at a ribbon cutting ceremony for Gately Park in the city’s Pullman neighborhood.
So far Lightfoot has defended her Chicago police Supt. David Brown and used statistics to argue there’s been a downward trend in violence. Lightfoot campaigned as a public safety expert and she has repeatedly said she wears the jacket for crime.
“I want you to know that we are doing absolutely everything that we can to stem the violence,” Lightfoot said. “I’ve met with many of you and I’ve heard your pain and anguish. I promise you, that I see you, that I hear you and that I feel you. You will never be lost to me. There is more that we can do and must do for victims and survivors.
At the ribbon cutting event, Lightfoot pointed part of the blame at Congress, but said she’s glad to have a president in office that finally “gets it.”
“We are seeing historic levels of violence, what more is it going to take?” Lightfoot asked. “And yet, we see people in Congress sitting on their hands and not doing anything.”
Mayor Lightfoot said she plans to meet with President Biden Wednesday when he plans to visit Crystal Lake.
To explain the surge in violence, Lightfoot and the Chicago Police Department continue to blame the courts – pointing to the suspension of jury trials and judges allowing too many violent defendants back onto the streets, they said.
City Council is growing restless. The alderpeople want to play a bigger role in public safety. Last Friday, they grilled Brown at a City Council meeting.
“We cannot continue to normalize this level of violence,” Earlier Tuesday, Ald. Byron Sigho-Lopez (25th Ward) said earlier Tuesday. “In the city, in our communities, we’re seeing tragedy, time after time. We’re seeing dozens of parents who continue to mourn the loss of a daughter or a son or a loved one or a sibling.”
Lightfoot critic, Alderperson Anthony Beale, did not attend Tuesday’s event with the mayor, even though Gately borders his ward.
Instead, Beale was writing this letter to Governor Pritzker requesting he send in the National Guard to help Chicago police.
“We’ve been through this before. There are some in the City Council that don’t want to work collaboratively. They don’t come to the briefings, work with the police department — but do like to grandstand.”
Despite 100 people shot, Brown said Tuesday the police did their part to prevent crime this weekend.
On WGN Evening News Tuesday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx defended her office and said that prosecutors and police need to work collaboratively to curb violence.
It is frustrating that with the urgency of the matter that we’re having deflection in blame as opposed to looking holistically,” Foxx said. “Our office only gets involved once an arrest is made. One of the problems were contending with is a lot of these shooters have not yet been arrested. But when they are arrested and they are charged, the criminal justice system kicks in and people are prosecuted and held accountable.”