Lightfoot urges Democrats to 'speak the truth' on violent crime amid spike
CHICAGO - Ousted Mayor Lori Lightfoot called on Democrat mayors to "speak the truth" on violent crime in their cities amid the crime spike in Chicago.
While speaking on a panel at the African American Mayors Association Conference in Washington, D.C., on Friday, Lightfoot called on Democrat mayors to address the growing crime in their cities.
"As Democrats, if we do not speak the truth about violent crime in our cities, we will be the worse for it," Lightfoot said.
"I come to this conversation as a former federal prosecutor. I come to this as a former defense attorney, I am the sister of a returning resident," Lightfoot continued. "But I know that there are people in my city that are wreaking havoc every day and need to be off the streets. That’s reality."
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"What do we say to, not only the victims of crime, but the people who are terrified about crimes in their neighborhood, most of whom look like us. If we say, ‘yeah, the police department is spending all this time and resources to arrest, put a case on,’ and the judges and the prosecutors say, ‘you know what? We’re going to let you out on electronic monitoring to wreak havoc again.’"
Lightfoot asked if "somebody musters the courage to come forward and identify the person who just shot up their neighborhood, and then sees Pookie walking bold as day back on the street two days later, what does that say to them?"
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"You’re telling them that the criminal justice system doesn’t care about victims and witnesses," Lightfoot said. "And if we don’t call that out every single day with these prosecutors and with these judges, many of whom don’t live in our cities and don’t care about what’s happening, then we are going to lose an opportunity to advocate for the victims and the witnesses and the residents who just want and deserve peace."
"We gotta say it," she added. "We gotta say it."
Lightfoot’s comments come as she heads toward the end of her time as Chicago’s mayor, becoming the first mayor in 40 years not to get re-elected.
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Crime has spiked in the Windy City under Lightfoot’s leadership and played a central role in the 2023 mayoral election.
Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson warned against vilifying youth while condemning a chaotic "Teen Takeover" of the Loop over the weekend, which saw hundreds of young people descend on the downtown area for two nights in a row.
Two teenage males, ages 16 and 17, were shot while standing in a crowd during the mayhem on Saturday night, as hundreds of young people smashed cars, blocked traffic, and fought in the streets. Both victims were transported to a hospital and listed in fair condition, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
"In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend. It is unacceptable and has no place in our city. However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities," Johnson, a progressive who defeated moderate Democrat Paul Vallas earlier this month, said in a statement on Sunday.
"Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains welcome for both residents and visitors."