Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat who proposed cutting a huge $80 million from the Chicago Police Department budget in 2020, has a personal police unit consisting of a whopping 71 officers to protect her, and blamed some of her personal need for protection on former President Trump, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “When the president of the United States uses the world’s largest megaphone and platform to target you personally, terrible things happen. And he not only blew a dog whistle, he pointed really evil and dangerous people right at my doorstep.”
The special unit, named Unit 544, now is comprised of 65 officers, five sergeants and a lieutenant, but that’s not all; “Lightfoot also has a separate personal bodyguard detail, which includes about 20 officers, the records show,” The Sun-Times noted.
On July 7, 2020, the police department issued a memo to officers who had served for at least five years; it stated:
The unit’s mission will be to provide physical security for City Hall, the mayor’s residence and the mayor’s detail command post. … Through the coordination of intelligence and resources, officers will respond to all threats related to the mayor’s physical properties to ensure its protection.
“Around the same time the unit was being formed in the summer of 2020, residents of Humboldt Park and Logan Square were complaining that the Shakespeare district, which covers their neighborhoods, was getting stretched thin because so many patrol officers there were being assigned to keep protesters from gathering outside Lightfoot’s house in Logan Square,” The Sun-Times added.
John Catanzara, president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, commented, “While murders are soaring, while districts are barebones for manpower, all that matters is protecting her castle.”
After the shooting death of Officer Ella French last August, Lightfoot introduced a plan to “refund the police.” “The very next month, in September, Lightfoot unveiled a a $16.7 billion spending plan Monday that boosted funding for the department, lifting the Chicago Police Department’s annual budget to $1.9 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2021,” The Daily Mail noted. “The plan relied on federal money to help dig the city out of a deficit that reached new heights during Lightfoot’s time in office.”
The Sun-Times reported in January, “As 2021 drew to a close, the city’s murder total rose 3% above 2020, according to CPD statistics, a year that saw killings surge to nearly two-thirds more than the number slain in 2019.”
In February 2021, discussing why Chicago Public Schools were having so much difficulty returning students to in-person classroom learning, Lightfoot blamed Trump, saying, “This is a very difficult situation and we’re in it, still, because of the incompetence of the previous administration.”
In June 2020, Trump slammed Lightfoot in a letter after the publication of a report from the Chicago Sun Times on the soaring numbers of people who were shot and killed in Chicago. Trump wrote, “ … Your lack of leadership on this important issue continues to fail the people you have sworn to protect. I am concerned it is another example of your lack of commitment to the vulnerable citizens who are victims of this violence and a lack of respect for the men and women in law enforcement.”
He continued, “The American people (hardworking taxpayers) send you millions of dollars in Federal funding each year to support public safety in Chicago. In 2018 and 2019, the City of Chicago benefited from $136 million in funding from the Urban Area Security Initiative Grant Program, and another $68 million was recently announced for Chicago from this important program. The Department of Justice awarded and is in the process of awarding nearly $20 million to support law enforcement and law-enforcement related entities in the City of Chicago and Cook County across 2019 and 2020, including resources for combating opioid abuse and recidivism reduction. The Department of Labor has also awarded funding to programs targeting prisoner re-entry and recidivism reduction in the Chicago area. My Administration allocated $898.6 million to the City of Chicago and Cook County from the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which helps support your first responders on the front lines. In the absence of any modicum of leadership, however, these substantial sums of taxpayer money are not being turned into results, and the safety of your most vulnerable communities continues to deteriorate.”
He concluded, “Unfortunately, you continue to put your own political interests ahead of the lives, safety, and fortunes of your own citizens. The people of Chicago deserve better.”
Lightfoot tweeted, “I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump.”
I don’t need leadership lessons from Donald Trump.
— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 27, 2020