Chicago’s Mayor Lightfoot begs DOJ for help as violent crime soars

by mcardinal

Chris Lange, FISM News


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who last year proposed gutting $80 million from the city’s police budget, is now pleading for federal assistance to help deal with out-of-control crime.

The Democratic mayor on Monday asked Attorney General Merrick Garland to send in agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to help crack down on illegal guns. Lightfoot also wants the DOJ to step in by sending officers to bolster police presence and track down wanted suspects in the Windy City. 

“We cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing,” Lightfoot said, adding “I feel the urgency every day.”

The mayor is also urging judges to put an end to the use of ankle bracelet monitoring on individuals arrested for violent crimes, a method she says is fundamentally broken. Right now, today, there are simply too many violent people walking our streets and wreaking havoc in our neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said.

As of Sunday, the number of shooting victims in the city reached a staggering 4,270, representing nearly a nine percent increase from the same period last year, while homicides have increased five percent from 2020, according to reporting by the Chicago Tribune. Chicago currently is the deadliest city in the nation, reporting 783 homicides so far this year.

“Keeping you safe is my priority – not one of, but the first and primary priority,” Lightfoot said. “I wake every morning with this as my first concern and I push myself and all involved to step up and do more and better because we cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing.”

The relationship between Mayor Lightfoot and the Chicago PD has been marked by rancor in recent months. In addition to her push last year to slash the Chicago PD budget, the mayor publicly threatened to fire law enforcement personnel who failed to comply with her COVID-19 vaccination mandate by Dec. 31. A Cook County Judge ruled that the mandate may remain in place but stated that the city cannot enforce the end-of-the-year deadline without first arbitrating the matter with the police. 

Lightfoot is the second Democratic mayor to do an abrupt about-face on previous calls to defund the police as big-city crime continues to spiral out of control across the nation. Progressive San Francisco Mayor London Breed, who last year pledged to redirect $120 million from the city’s law-enforcement budget to social causes, last week vowed to put an end to “the reign of criminals who are destroying our city.” Breed now seeks supplemental funding to provide the SFPD with overtime pay “so they can keep doing the critical work they do every day.”