Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted an unnamed city council member for “illegally” recording a phone call between the mayor and a number of the city’s aldermen over ongoing riots and unrest that destroyed hundreds of Chicago businesses and left some of the city’s wards helpless.
The mayor and Alderman Raymond Lopez, who represents areas on the city’s south and near west sides, got into a profane exchange of words on the call, with Lopez accusing Lightfoot of using police resources to protect downtown stores from looting while leaving poorer and residential neighborhoods to fend for themselves, according to local media.
“It’s not something you ignore. This is a question that I have,” Lopez said.
That’s when the call turned profane.
“I think you’re 100% full of s***, is what I think,” Lightfoot said.
Lopez was infuriated.
“F*** you, then. Who are you to tell me I’m full of s***?” he said. “Maybe you should come out and see what’s going on.”
The whole call was emotional, with some south and west side aldermen begging Lightfoot for increased help. Some of the aldermen were openly weeping on the call, telling the mayor that the situation was now beyond control.
Lightfoot was similarly concerned, telling the city council members that she’d never seen a situation this dire in the city of Chicago.
The mayor has been defending her exchange of words with Lopez, but late Wednesday tried a different tactic: calling the recording, and its subsequent leak to media, illegal according to Chicago’s CBS affiliate.
“There were a lot of incredible emotions that were shared in that call by fellow aldermen, now all of whom don’t feel secure or safe coming together with their colleagues, because of one individual who decided to illegally tape a conversation that was intended to be a private conversation among all of us,” Lightfoot said at a press conference.
She also implied that Lopez, with whom Lightfoot has an ongoing, often acrimonious rivalry, was responsible for leaking the call.
“One of the aldermen, and I think we know who it is, illegally taped and then shared only that portion of the conversation that served his purposes,” she said. “Shame on him. Shame on him. That’s what I say.”
Lopez addressed the allegation in an email to Chicago media but stopped short of denying that he leaked the call: “The Zoom meetings invite 51 elected officials and nearly a dozen staff, yet Lightfoot’s anger is once again directed solely at me because I refuse to accept her failures. Furthermore, I do not believe her anger and outrage over these leaks has nothing to do with my colleagues. It has to do with her inability to spin the narrative in a way that benefits her,”
Lightfoot is under siege from all sides as the city digests the aftermath of mass protests, inspired by the death of George Floyd, and subsequent, organized riots and looting that used the protests as cover for violent behavior. In addition to accusations that she did little to help Chicago residents affected by the riots, Chicago’s anti-racism protesters are demanding Lightfoot “defund” the Chicago Police Department — an impossibility given public sector employee protections outlined in Illinois’ constitution.
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