Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her longtime political rival, Ald. Raymond Lopez, squared off on a profanity-laced phone call Sunday, over the city’s lack of a strong response to rioting and looting happening on Chicago’s south and west sides.
Chicago is still recovering from more than a week of anti-racism protests, many of which turned into riots and gave way to looting, particularly in low-income areas of the city. The south and west sides were hit hardest, and many of Chicago’s residents taking it upon themselves to join with the limited number of police assigned to patrol those areas to repel an invasion of looters.
Ald. Raymond Lopez of the city’s 15th ward, which encompasses areas of the city’s south and west sides, took it upon himself to voice the area’s concerns with Lightfoot in a conference call between the mayor and city council on Sunday, leading to an intense confrontation, according to a recording of the call sent to Chicago’s CBS2 News.
“During a conference call with all 50 aldermen on May 31 to discuss the city’s response to the looting, Lopez accused the mayor of being unprepared when looting spread from downtown to the neighborhoods that weekend,” CBS2 reported.
“When downtown is in lockdown, our neighborhoods are next, and our failure to fully get ready for what’s going on in the neighborhoods, we’re seeing this destruction, and we’re thinking that it’s going to somehow end tonight,” Lopez railed at the mayor. “We have seen where, in other cities, this has gone on for days; and we need to come up with a better plan for days, at least for the next five days, to try and stabilize our communities.”
Lopez added that parts of the city had become “a virtual warzone.”
Chicago was handling multiple issues on several fronts, not simply ongoing looting, but a burgeoning conflict between communities in some of its neighborhoods, with residents joining with police to protect local businesses. As noted by The Daily Wire earlier Tuesday, with most police officers deployed to keep the peace at thousand-person marches, the city suffered its most violent day in 60 years on Sunday, with 18 people killed in less than 24 hours.
“We can’t expect our police, and I don’t fault them at all, to be able to control this,” Lopez told the mayor on the phone call. “Half our neighborhoods are already obliterated. It’s too late.”
“Once they’re done looting and rioting and whatever’s going to happen tonight, God help us, what happens when they start going after residents? Going into the neighborhoods? Once they start trying to break down people’s doors, if they think they’ve got something,” he added.
Lopez then specifically referenced the problem of gangs running wild as police handled matters downtown.
“We know that people are here to antagonize and incite, and you’ve got them all pumped tonight, today,” he said. “They’re not going to go to bed at 8 o’clock. They’re going to turn their focus on the neighborhoods. I’ve got gang-bangers with AK-47s walking around right now, just waiting to settle some scores. What are we going to do, and what do we tell residents, other than good faith people stand up? It’s not going to be enough.”
Lightfoot, who was one of the first mayors in the country to request assistance from the state’s National Guard, was having none of it. After trying to move on to another alderman, Lightfoot shot back at Lopez.
“I think you’re 100% full of s***, is what I think,” she said.
That started a waterfall of profanity.
“Well, f–k you then,” Lopez replied. “Mayor you need to check your f—–g attitude.”
Lopez and Lightfoot have a feud going back nearly a year, explaining the confrontational moment. The Chicago Tribune has been cataloging the pair’s rivalry for months, as the city struggled through first the coronavirus pandemic and now widespread violence.
But although Lopez commanded much of the call, he was not alone in thinking that the city could do more to help quell the violence in areas outside of downtown and major tourist attractions, like the “Magnificent Mile,” the city’s high-end shopping district.
“My ward is a s–t show,” said one city council member, adding that cop cars were being burned in her ward, per WTTW Chicago. “They are shooting at the police. I have never seen the likes of this. I’m scared.”
“I’ve worked really hard over the last seven years and now I feel like I am five feet back,” said another.
“I feel like I am at ground zero,” added yet another. “My major business district is shattered. Why would Walmart or CVS come back to our communities?”
“We’ve been working our a– off,” Lightfoot responded. “It is all over the city.” She went on to note that she believed the unrest was instigated by “anarchists” and that the National Guard was necessary to protect the city’s business districts, as was shutting down public transportation — a move Lightfoot said she made after rioters tried to commandeer city busses.
“I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen s–t like this before, not in Chicago,” she said.
The call, which was supposed to place the mayor and city council on the same page, ended with the mayor pleading with her alderman to “pray for us all.”
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