CHICAGO - With nearly 2,000 people shot in Chicago so far this year – and more than 340 killed – a growing group of aldermen are demanding accountability. They want to question Police Supt. David Brown at a public hearing this week.
"Murders are up. Shootings are up. But yet the administration says all these things are down," said South Side 9th Ward Ald. Anthony Beale.
He is among 20 members of the City Council who signed a letter seeking a hearing by the Committee on Public Safety.
2021 is Chicago’s deadliest year in more than a decade.
"What's going wrong is nobody's held accountable for this. Everyone's trying to – you know – the scapegoat for the last three, four years is ‘put all the problems on the police.’ Because that's somebody you could punish," said Northwest Side 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano.
Napolitano, whose ward is home to many police families, predicted that up to 800 Chicago officers would retire or resign this year, worsening an already dire shortage of law enforcement personnel in the city.
South Side 19th Ward Ald. Matt O’Shea is another who represents many first responder families.
"We have significantly less police officers than we did 15 months ago. They can't continue at this pace. They are worn out. They are beaten down. Morale is at an all-time low," he said.
A City Council ally of Mayor Lori Lightfoot compared the criticism to what Mayor Harold Washington faced in the racially-charged council wars of the 1980s.
"This is just a tactic to try to continue to do things to this mayor that haven't been done in our city since Harold Washington was mayor," said Lincoln Park’s 43rd Ward Ald. Michele Smith.
Blacks, whites and Hispanics were all among the 20 aldermen who signed Tuesday’s letter. A spokesman for Mayor Lightfoot did not respond directly to the letter, but issued a statement saying Chicago Police Supt. Brown gave aldermen a series of briefings on police issues earlier this year.
"You'd better do something right now or step aside," said Alderman Napolitano.