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A Chicago city official heavily criticized Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s claim that racism was to blame for the challenges facing the city, declaring it a “public health crisis.”
Lightfoot on Thursday blamed “systemic racism” for the hardships minority residents face in the city, pledging to use millions of dollars in grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for combatting alleged systemic racism, which she called a “public health crisis.”
“When we think about racism, many of us think about it in visible and audible forms, but the reality is the insidious nature of systemic racism has other impacts that are every bit as deep and harmful, but often ones that we can’t see, like the impacts on the psyche and other impacts on our bodies that are just as, if not more deadly,” Lightfoot said, as The Daily Wire previously reported.
Alderman Raymond Lopez of Chicago’s 15th Ward, however, says gang violence is to blame for the problems faced by minority residents.
“Generational gang life isn’t just something that’s encouraged. It’s almost revered in some neighborhoods,” Lopez told the Washington Examiner. “If you really want to get to what is at the heart of a lot of this, it is gangs, and it is the borderline collapse of the family unit in many of our neighborhoods … [Lightfoot] has avoided calling out gangs in our community as a source of violence in our city.”
Lopez told the outlet that residents in the ward he represents are “giving up” on calling the police, as they seem more focused on systemic racism now than combatting gang violence. He added that kids as young as fourth or fifth grade are involved in gang life, accusing schools of taking a “hugs and kisses” approach to dealing with students who are involved in gangs. Schools aren’t informing the police about gang affiliations and allowing the criminal justice system to become part of the solution, Lopez said.
Yet Mayor Lightfoot has made it harder for police in Chicago to do their jobs, including her recent policy change that discourages police officers from chasing a suspect who has been accused of a low-level offense lower than a Class A misdemeanor unless the suspect “poses an obvious threat to the community or any person.”
These policies allow low-level offenders to get away with crime, potentially working their way up to bigger crimes until they are eventually caught, at the expense of innocent victims.
This was ignored by Lightfoot last week when she claimed, “At almost every single point in our city’s history, sadly, racism has taken a devastating toll on the health and well-being of our residents of color and particularly those who are black.”
Lopez disagreed with that sentiment as it applies to Chicago’s problems.
“I think it’s a foil to avoid having to deal with [gang and other issues], period. Two hundred-plus murders in the city of Chicago, none of them were committed because of racism,” he told the Examiner. “I can tell you last week’s gang shooting had nothing to do with racism. The shooting in Englewood Monday morning, four people shot, three others injured, was not about racism.”