CHICAGO (CBS) — The heated exchanges between Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and President Donald Trump continued with the mayor stating federal agents will not come to Chicago streets.
“The Trump administration is not going to foolishly deploy unnamed agents to the streets of Chicago. As I understand it, what we will be getting are some additional resources in the FBI, the DEA and the ATF,” Lightfoot said. “And unlike what happened in Portland, what we will receive is resources that are going to plug in to the existing federal agencies that we work with on a regular basis to help manage and suppress violent crime in our city.”
Early Monday evening, a group marched amid news that the Trump administration is preparing to send 175 federal agents to Chicago this week, according to a memo obtained from CBS News.
The protest was initially planned in response to Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara Jr.’s letter to President Donald Trump essentially extending the invitation to federal agents.
After about 100 people gathered at Federal Plaza, the protesters were on the move, heading north near Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. There was a skirmish between some Chicago Police officers and protesters, apparently as police tried to keep the protesters on the sidewalk.
President Trump repeatedly has criticized Chicago’s handling of gun violence during his term, and last week he vowed to bring down crime in cities like Chicago “even if we have to go in and take over.”
“He’s been talking about it for years. It’s not something new,” said activist Niko Eastwind. “Now he’s acting on it.”
Lightfoot said she is determined not to allow what happened in Portland with federal agents to take place in Chicago.
“I don’t think anybody can quibble with the fact that what happened was not only unconstitutional. It was undemocratic. I’ve been very clear that we welcome actual partnership, but we do not welcome dictatorship. We do not welcome authoritarianism, and we do not welcome unconstitutional arrest and detainment of our residents. That is something I will not tolerate,” Lightfoot said.
Illinois Governor JB Pritzker echoed Lightfoot’s stance on the possibility of federal troops coming to Chicago calling the plan “an extraordinarily bad idea.”
The governor added “he’s not looking to help us reduce violence, he’s looking to create mayhem, because he thinks it’ll help him get reelected in November,” Pritzker said at an unrelated event in East St. Louis.
Pritzker said a better approach for saving lives and reducing gun violence would be to boost investment in intervention programs, mental health services, and police training.
“But sending these federal protective troops into our cities, extraordinarily bad idea, and frankly it’s going to lead to a greater level of mayhem, a greater level of violence as a result of those troops being put on the ground,” he said.
Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum late Friday sued Homeland Security and the Marshals Service in federal court. The complaint says that unidentified federal agents have grabbed people off Portland’s streets “without warning or explanation, without a warrant, and without providing any way to determine who is directing this action.”
Rosenblum said she was seeking a temporary restraining order to “immediately stop federal authorities from unlawfully detaining Oregonians.”
“The current escalation of fear and violence in downtown Portland is being driven by federal law enforcement tactics that are entirely unnecessary,” Rosenblum said in a statement.
The administration has enlisted federal agents, including the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group and an elite U.S. Customs and Border Protection team based on the U.S.-Mexico border, to protect federal property.
The mayor said if Trump pursues his plans, Lightfoot said she’ll immediately take the matter to court.
“We’re not taking anything for granted, but we feel like we are, are we have information that allows us to say, at least at this point that we don’t see a Portland style deployment coming to Chicago. Now, if that changes, as I said, we will not hesitate to use every tool at our disposal,” Lightfoot said, adding that she hopes Chicagoan will speak up and say something if they witness something suspicious or questionable.
“If you do see something, please contact the mayor’s office, contact your local alderman to let them know that something is up, something is amiss. We need everybody in our city, to be the eyes and ears on this thing, because we are not going to allow democracy to be hijacked by the federal government. That is not happening in Chicago.”