CHICAGO (CBS) — Warning that the city could “have a mess on our hands” if the Chicago Police Department doesn’t get a grip on a rise in gun violence in the wake of Chicago’s deadliest weekend of the year, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she’s confident top brass “will rise to the occasion.”
Nine people were shot and killed over the weekend across Chicago, the most homicides in any weekend so far this year, and the most in a February weekend in 18 years.
“This weekend’s crime numbers, where we saw so many homicides, and we saw a lot of shootings, were incredibly distressing to me. I’m not going to shy away from that,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated event on Wednesday. “I had a lot of very difficult conversations with CPD leadership over the course of the weekend, Monday, and yesterday, and I’ve challenged them that they have to be proactive.”
The mayor had her weekly accountability meeting with police brass on Tuesday, and she said it was the first time that all 25 district commanders were called in.
The weekend’s shooting totals come after 2019 was the third consecutive year that homicides and shootings dropped in Chicago, and Lightfoot said she made it very clear to CPD leadership that they have to use every available resource to prevent a significant spike in gun violence this year.
“If they do not act in a proactive way to use the tools that are available to them – including community partners – that we are going to have a mess on our hands that eclipses some of the worst years of violence that we’ve seen in recent memory. I’m not about to let that happen, and I hope that they understood the challenge that’s before them,” she said. “I’m confident that they will rise to the occasion, because they have to.”
Lightfoot also denied any suggestion that a crackdown on police overtime had anything to do with the surge in violence over the weekend.
Earlier this week, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the department would be making some “deployment adjustments” to crack down on the rise in shootings.