Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who was criticized for her handling of riots during ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests, has now promised to get tough on crime after a night of “brazen and excessive criminal looting” in the city.
Hordes of looters swarmed into Chicago’s downtown on Sunday night, ransacking stores along the Magnificent Mile shopping street and brawling with police officers. Two people were shot during the night by unknown assailants and 150 people were arrested, Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown told reporters on Monday morning.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot promised on Monday to crack down hard on the “abject, criminal behavior” of the looters.
To those who engaged in this criminal behavior, let’s be clear: we are coming for you. We are already at work in finding you and we intend to hold you accountable for your actions.
Lightfoot is not known as a ‘law and order’ politician, yet the mayhem of Sunday has led to a dramatic change in rhetoric from the mayor. Previously, as her aldermen complained about violence in their districts during riots in June, Lightfoot said that the aldermen were “full of s**t.”
When President Donald Trump announced plans last month to send federal agents into the city to quell its ongoing crime wave, Lightfoot accused the president of “terrorizing” her city, and rebuffed the offer. A month earlier, she accused Trump of trying to “inflame racist urges” by threatening to crack down on lawlessness.
With her rhetoric hardened, Lightfoot drew a line between her policy toward the BLM riots and toward Sunday night’s looting. Referring to the looting spree, she declared that “this had nothing to do with legitimate, protected, First Amendment expression.”
The wave of riots and looting began after police shot and injured an armed suspect on the city’s south side on Sunday evening. The suspect – a 20-year-old man with four previous convictions – opened fire on the officers first. Brown said that “misinformation” about the shooting soon spread, with some social media posts encouraging looters to target downtown businesses in retaliation.
Chicago Police Department is currently reviewing CCTV footage in the hope of identifying more looters, and Superintendent Brown appealed to the public to hand over any more video footage they may have. Lightfoot told reporters that the police presence in downtown Chicago would remain beefed up and access to the area would be restricted at night “until we know that our neighborhoods are safe.”
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