Kaylee Greenlee, DCNF
Aldermen begged, cried and cursed at Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot over the city’s response to protests during a heated conference call May 31, according to a recording obtained by WTTW News.
Lightfoot received criticism from members of Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus who accused her during the call of deploying 375 members of the Illinois National Guard to block off the central business district, PBS affiliate WTTW News reported.
Lightfoot denied the accusation, but aldermen said the business corridors to the south and west were easy targets for criminals as they did not have the same level of protection as other places, according to an audio recording of the online conference call, obtained WTTW News, with the mayor and 50 aldermen to discuss the city’s response.
Democratic 10th Ward Alderman Susan Sadlowski-Garza was emotional while asking for Lightfoot’s help. “My ward is a shit show. They are shooting at the police,” Sadlowski-Garza said.
Sadlowski-Garza told Lightfoot that some shop owners were standing guard with shotguns while others had been destroyed, and that cop cars and banks were burned. “This is a massive, massive problem,” Sadlowski-Garza said. “People are just fucking lawless right now.”
Chicago and other cities around the country have seen protests since the May 25 death of George Floyd, who died in police custody after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than 8 minutes, video of the incident showed.
Lightfoot told the aldermen that the city was actively responding to the situation. “We’ve been working our ass off. It is all over the city,” Lightfoot said, WTTW reported.
It took three hours for law enforcement officers to clear an area near Madison Street and Pulaski Road, according to WTTW. After officers “gassed [the crowd] with pepper spray twice, they didn’t give a shit,” Lightfoot said. She said officers on the West side engaged in “armed combat” and only made progress after turning to “heavy equipment and stronger pepper spray.” “I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen shit like this before, not in Chicago,” Lightfoot said.
Democratic 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez, a frequent critic of Lightfoot, indicated that businesses in his ward had also been subject to arson and looting during the call.
“We’re seeing this destruction…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 referred to his southwest side ward as a “virtual warzone” after “gang bangers” equipped with AK-47’s threatened to shoot African Americans, WTTW reported. “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 told Lightfoot, WTTW reported.
Lightfoot dismissed Lopez’s concerns, to which he responded, “it’s not something you ignore. This is a question that I have,” news outlet Breitbart reported. “I think you’re 100% full of shit, is what I think,” Lightfoot responded. “No offense — Fuck you, then. Who are you to tell me I’m full of shit? Maybe you should come out here and see what’s going on,” Lopez told Lightfoot, according to the recording WTTW reported.
Lightfoot refuted Lopez’s claim that she left neighborhoods outside of the city center unprotected. “If you think we’re not ready, and we stood by and let the neighborhoods go up, there’s nothing intelligent that I could say to you,” she said. “That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. I understand you want to preen…” Lopez cut off Lightfoot and said, “Mayor, you need to check your fucking attitude. That’s what you need to do,” Lopez interjected, ending their confrontation.