In the wake of a fatal police shooting of a 13-year old allegedly carrying a handgun in Chicago last week, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is doing her best to straddle the line between blaming police and blaming criminals for what happened. In a press conference on Monday afternoon, Lightfoot vowed that police will find the adult who “put a gun in a child’s hand,” even as she called for police to adopt a new policy limiting when and how officers can pursue criminal suspects on foot.
In 2018, Lightfoot criticized the draft of a court-ordered consent decree the Chicago Police Department now finds itself under for saying a determination on whether a new policy was needed could wait until 2021.
Speaking Monday, Lightfoot said a foot pursuit policy can’t be pushed off “for another day” though she didn’t address why she hadn’t prioritized the issue in the nearly two years since she became mayor.
But, she said, CPD established guidelines for foot pursuits in February. Last month, the consent decree’s independent monitor completed an assessment of data related to Chicago police foot pursuits and determined that the department should adopt a foot pursuit policy.
The monitor found that foot pursuits in which officers used force that did or could have resulted in death had increased since the previous review — up from 3% to 7.7%.
As the Chicago Tribune points out, while Lightfoot is now calling for the adoption of a new policy limiting the use of foot chases, she’s had two years to do something about it. Only when the shooting of 13-year old Adam Toledo became front page news did the mayor suddenly decide that this was an issue that couldn’t wait another day.
While calling for policy changes that would limit the use of foot pursuits, Lightfoot vowed to use “every resource” (excluding chasing after the suspect on foot, presumably) to track down the person who gave the gun to Toledo, taking rhetorical aim at the city’s gang members.
Gangs are preying on our most vulnerable, corrupting these young minds with promises of familia and lucre. Like good shepherds, we have to better tend to our flocks to keep the wolves at bay. And when the wolves dare try to take one of ours, we must hit them hard with the staff of a community united against the evils that threaten our youth,” the mayor said.
At the same press conference, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown was asked about an officer safety alert that went out last Thursday, warning officers that members of the Latin Kings gang had vowed to retaliate for Toledo’s death by targeting police.
The alert, sent out Thursday, said factions of the gang planned to retaliate following the fatal shooting of Adam Toledo at about 2 a.m. March 29 in an alley in the 2400 block of South Sawyer.
“We’re in agreement with the Toledo family in calling for peace. That they would not be representing Adam’s death in the most appropriate way if anyone is calling for violence,” Brown said.
“I want to answer that question specifically by holding up the family’s concern that no one retaliate, no one metes out any type of violence.”
Does Brown or anyone else truly believe that gang members are going to give a damn about “the most appropriate way” to respond to Toledo’s death? These are the same individuals who regularly open fire on city streets without care or concern for any innocent bystanders. It’s an absurdly milquetoast response from the city’s top cop, but it’s also a perfect example of the problem that Chicago politicians like Lightfoot have created.
The gang violence demands a concerted and focused response by law enforcement, but the current mindset of the Left views policing as a problem that’s as big (if not bigger) than the gangs themselves. Perhaps the city needs a better policy when it comes to foot pursuits, but it absolutely needs to get serious about the larger threat posed by gang violence, and what we saw from the mayor and Chicago’s police chief on Monday falls well short of what needs to be said and done.