Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been excoriated for the city’s belated response to an outbreak of looting, shooting and chaos that followed a police-involved shooting. The city was quick to shut down beach access, however.
Lightfoot belatedly condemned the looters during a press conference on Monday, urging prosecutors to “put their best people” on the task of rounding up those behind the violence that left 13 police officers injured over the course of a single night.
“There is no justification for criminal behavior ever,” Lightfoot said, adding, “You have no right to take and destroy the property of others.”
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However, she made a point of distinguishing between “the righteous uprising in the wake of the murder of George Floyd” in Minneapolis, Minnesota on Memorial Day – an event that also triggered outbreaks of violence and looting in cities across the US, including Chicago – and the weekend’s violence, which she called “abject criminal behavior.”
Lightfoot also lambasted judges and prosecutors who allow criminals to “cycle through the system,” a longstanding problem she seems to have only now discovered.
We can’t allow…people to believe there is no accountability in our criminal justice system.
Some 100 people were arrested for looting, which reportedly began in the downtown Loop area before spreading to neighborhoods from Lincoln Park to the Gold Coast. There were a total of 31 shootings and three murders over the course of the weekend, according to Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown, who also spoke at the presser.
“Criminals took to the streets with the confidence that there would be no consequence for their actions,” Brown lamented, pledging that a special team of detectives had been assigned the task of implementing a “multi-layered plan” to crack down on the violence “which will be based on lessons we’ve learned from earlier this summer.”
Chicago residents were quick to point out that Lightfoot and the city government had wasted no time shutting down access to beaches and lakes earlier that weekend and condemning the “reckless behavior” of locals trying to enjoy the water peacefully.
— Zane (@zanecoop) August 10, 2020
Saturday @chicagosmayor heroically tweeted about “Reckless behavior” as people congregated at the beach.
Sunday riots broke out involving looting, property damage, & violence.
— Lou From DelCo (@IslanderNation) August 10, 2020
Many observed the mayor waited until Monday to comment on the looting.
— Durham Better Deliver!🕵️ (@irootsorg) August 10, 2020
Hey Lori @chicagosmayor, are you still at the beach yelling at people for not social distancing or could you go stop mobs of people looting your city without masks now? #ChicagoRiots #ChicagoLooting https://t.co/zvXI5ZPGLE
— PhitNinja (@totser1625) August 10, 2020
Others said that the looting appeared both organized and shockingly brazen.
When night fell, hordes of Chicagoans traveled, in organized car caravans, to loot and destroy 87th/Dan Ryan, The Magnificent Mile & Near North Side.
— Vashon (@vashon_photo) August 10, 2020
Insane footage from Facebook live feeds. Looters so brazen they are filming themselves and putting it out live. pic.twitter.com/UUyEmjizyp
— Jennifer 🟥🛑🧙♀️🦉🦇 (@babybeginner) August 10, 2020
Some held Lightfoot up as an example of what happens when liberal Democrats are put in charge.
— Pastor Mark Burns (@pastormarkburns) August 10, 2020
While Chicago has long been a hotbed of violence and most weekends are marred by at least a handful of murders, Sunday’s unrest was triggered when police shot a suspect who had allegedly fired at them during a foot chase in the Englewood neighborhood. A crowd gathering at the scene became enraged over false reports that the injured man was a child – he was a 20-year-old man with a lengthy rap sheet – and the resulting confrontation left several officers injured before degenerating into chaos and looting.
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