CHICAGO (CBS) — Violence in Chicago will take more than a law enforcement solution, according to the city’s mayor.
At the reopening of the Merlo Library, Mayor Lori Lightfoot addressed the increase in violent crime.
Over the past weekend, at least 65 people were shot, 17 of them fatally, including 1-year-old Sincere Gaston, who was shot in the chest while he was in the back seat of his mother’s car in Englewood on Saturday afternoon, and 10-year-old Lena Nunez, who was killed by a stray bullet that went through an apartment window in Logan Square on Saturday night.
“The reality is that we have, in some ways the perfect storm, which means the worst possible circumstances. We have almost three months of COVID-19, where people were compelled to stay inside. We have concern amongst many about the spread of the disease. Some of our law enforcement partners have not been fully online because of their own concerns about the risk. And what we still see is the underlying root causes of violence,” Lightfoot said, who underlined that those problems that haven’t fully gone away.
“It’s poverty, lack of hope, despair. Access to, really, the things that we know build healthy and strong families and communities. Those challenges remain. But they’re all being kind of compressed in the same set of circumstances.”
The mayor said the answer to solving the violence problem is complicated, but city residents can focus on different angles.
“The status quo obviously is not working. I don’t want to wake up again and hear more news of another child who lost their life to gun violence. But we all have to dig down deeper. We have to put our arms around his shoulder. We knew we know who these folks are,” Lightfoot said in talking about the shooters. She urged those who know them to turn them in.
“I understand it’s a big ask to say to folks, well, person that you know, down the street or just sprayed the gas station, or the block, we need to step up and turn them in. But that’s exactly what we need. We can’t we cannot break the cycle of violence. If everybody doesn’t do their part,” Lightfoot said. “There are safe ways in which they can turn people in. But let’s stop the violence before even starts by making sure we’re investing in our young people and we’re loving them and supporting them, at the earliest possible stages of their life, so they understand that there’s a future for themselves.
The mayor also addressed the Fraternal Order of Police and reports that officers are not being encouraged not to stop every crime. Along with a spike in violence in Chicago this past weekend CBS 2 Political Reporter Dana Kozlov reported that s a result of not being supported there’s a new push by members of the police union to get officers on the street to stand down – and even stay home.
“That’s easy for the leadership of the FOP to mouth those words, because we’re in, what they know, are going to be really, really, really tough contract talks. And I’m committed to making sure that we win for the residents and the taxpayers of Chicago. So you’re going to hear a lot of sound and fury, but we’re committed,” Lightfoot said. “I’m going to make sure that FOP contract, just like we did with the sergeants, lieutenants, and captains contract, that the FOP contract, for the first time in our history, is actually going to speak the values of the residents of Chicago. So you’re going to hear a lot of noise from the FOP.”
As far as officers holding back, Lightfoot said she herself has not seen that on a regular basis and she praised CPD for their work during the time of civil unrest in Chicago.
“June was this this month of significant civic uprising. So what were our officers doing? They were making sure that people were safely exhibiting and expressing their First Amendment rights all over the city. So yeah, they weren’t making traffic. They were busy and and making sure that the people they’re out in the streets and their righteous indignation over the murder of George Floyd were able to express themselves safely.”
When asked about the release of body cam footage of ex-Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson slumped over in his vehicle – and not releasing the Inspector General’s report, Lightfoot said, according to the law, she can’t do it.
“Look at what the statute says. The statute says, unequivocally, no reports will be led out unless and there’s one exception that we put in last year, which is a felony and it’s a public interest. Now, obviously, there’s a lot of public interest, but there’s no felony. There’s no felony that’s been identified. We’ve looked at this 20 ways from Sunday, and my team, many of whom are lawyers, we value our law licenses and we are going to follow the law. We put out what we can put out. We’ll put out some additional materials. But there’s nothing under the law that allows us in this circumstance to put out the reports of Inspector General. We’re going to do the right thing to make sure that we are transparent with the public.”