After teenagers went on a violent rampage in downtown Chicago Saturday night in which two people were shot, leftist Chicago mayor-elect Brandon Johnson said Sunday that people shouldn’t “demonize” the teenagers.
Over 100 teenagers participated in the violent activity, which included torching cars, engaging in a massive fight, and trying to breach police barricades. Two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, were shot; 15 people were arrested.
But Johnson, the city’s mayor-elect, lectured critics of the teenagers, issuing a statement in which he said he did not “condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and the lakefront this weekend,” but then implied the teenagers’ behavior was not completely their fault, intoning, “However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.”
“Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains both welcome for both residents and visitors,” he continued, saying it was part of his “comprehensive approach to improve public safety and make Chicago livable for everyone.”
— Brandon Johnson (@Brandon4Chicago) April 16, 2023
In total, 15 people were arrested, including nine adults and six children.
Johnson was slammed for his statement by critics.
“You couldn’t even make it through the first paragraph without excusing the rioters,” one declared.
You couldn’t even make it through the first paragraph without excusing the rioters
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) April 16, 2023
“They will get more of the unrest and looting since they are not being held responsible. It is the society’s fault, so individuals can do as pleased. Shame on the insanely Woke admin,” another added.
They will get more of the unrest and looting since they are not being held responsible. It is the society’s fault, so individuals can do as pleased. Shame on the insanely Woke admin.
— SEGA L'éveilleur® (@segalink) April 16, 2023
“Your soft hand position will lead to more crime and more death. You will bankrupt Chicago. Step aside. Citizens deserve to live in a safe city,” another echoed.
Your soft hand position will lead to more crime and more death.
You will bankrupt Chicago.
Step aside. Citizens deserve to live in a safe city.
— Jack Lombardi II (@JackLombardi) April 17, 2023
Johnson, who served as Cook County Commissioner when he ran for mayor against Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, said on his campaign website that he would “work with police and first responders to invest in community-based interventions that de-escalate conflict, reduce violence and make our neighborhoods safer.” Vallas promised on his website that he would increase the number of sworn officers and considered public safety a “basic human right.”
Vallas was endorsed by the Chicago Police Union, while Johnson was supported by the Chicago Teachers Union, which provoked criticism in the wake of government lockdowns for opposing the rollback of virtual instruction.
Ben Zeisloft contributed to this article.