Failing Chicago mayor Lori lightfoot continues to be in the news spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Chicago is starting to look like a post-apocalyptic city from a science fiction film due to constant looting, violence, and murder.
Meanwhile, mayor Lightfoot still spends more time mouthing off at everyone who questions her about her leadership during her city’s collapse.
That continued on Monday, after Lightfoot decided she strongly disliked a reporter’s line of questioning.
The Washington Examiner with the story:
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot snapped at a reporter who questioned whether city officials went too easy on looters from protests in recent months.
The exchange took place Monday after widespread violence and looting took place downtown in the early morning hours following a police-involved shooting that left a man injured. More than 100 arrests were made, and 13 officers were hurt during the unrest, Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said during a press conference Monday morning.
“It almost sounds as though you’re saying this is — the reason [this is happening] is because the courts and the prosecutors were not doing their job, that they’re going too easy on the looters from the last time around," a reporter asked during a press conference with Lightfoot and Brown.
Brown began to respond but was cut off by Lightfoot, who accused the reporter of trying to "bait" them with the question.
“No, no, don’t — do not bait us," Lightfoot said. "Do not bait us. This is a serious situation. People are concerned about their safety. Officers are concerned about their safety. So don’t bait us."
Lightfoot added that the city is aggressively searching to identify the people responsible for the unrest.
"When we do [identify them] and we do make those arrests, our expectation is that this is going to be treated with the level of seriousness that it should be, period," Lightfoot said. "Don’t try to bait us, mischaracterize, pit one against the other — we’re not playing that. We are in a serious situation here, and we need a serious response. That’s what we’re saying, period.”
Here's the video of mayor Lightfoot's exchange with the reporter.
The truth is, Chicago was already a dangerous place.
The murder rate has gone up tremendously in the last few months though, which has led some to dub it "Murder City."
Fox Business has more on the wave of violent crime sweeping Chicago, and other major cities.
The Trump administration has called for a surge of hundreds of federal officers in cities such as Chicago, Kansas City, Mo., and Detroit that have seen increases in violent crime. In Chicago, there have been 450 murders in the city this year through Aug. 2, a 55% rise from the year-earlier period, according to Chicago police data.
This isn't the first time federal agents have been sent to Chicago, which has long struggled with illegal gun trafficking and street gangs. Administrations of both parties have attempted to tackle the city's crime problem for decades by deploying federal resources with mixed results. The significantly larger surge under the Trump administration, called Operation Legend, shows the challenge federal and local officials will face in attempting to curb violent crime.
Justice Department officials have said they will gauge their success based on the number of cases they bring and on whether violent crime rates fall. But they acknowledge the impact of programs like Operation Legend is difficult to gauge in cities like Chicago, where various law-enforcement initiatives and community-driven programs have affected shifting crime rates for years.
Chicago's U.S. Attorney John Lausch said his office has prosecuted more gun crimes every year since 2017. Yet crime in Chicago has hardly stabilized.
The city has seen 1,804 shooting incidents this year through Aug. 2. That is up 48% compared with the same period in 2019, according to Chicago police data. Residents and experts attribute that increase to a number of factors, including economic and psychological stress from the coronavirus pandemic. This follows declines in the number of shooting incidents in Chicago, which fell from more than 3,500 in 2016 to about 2,150 in 2019.
Mr. Lausch said the current goal is to use the extra federal agents to go after large criminal enterprises and target repeat offenders.
"We've seen a lot of impulsive and opportunistic gang-related shootings, " Mr. Lausch said in an interview. "If we can get to the root of that...we think that could be impactful."
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said her office has worked to tackle violence with the help of federal partners from various administrations, and whether this effort will be more successful than past operations depends on strategy.
"Having additional resources to look at gun prosecution, to look at gun cases is incredibly helpful," she said. "But what we also know, however, is that this is a short-term triage."
The program has led to federal criminal charges in Chicago against three people in its first two weeks: a pair of felons who prosecutors said were found with illegal handguns and ammunition and a third man who was arrested after ATF agents discovered a handgun in his bedroom that had been modified to fire like a machine gun, making it prohibited under federal law.
Prosecutors can pursue a variety of charges at the federal level, where the potential penalties are typically much tougher. The federal charge of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, for example, is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and those convicted must serve 85% of their sentence, often in a prison far from family and friends.
The latest effort builds upon a similar push by President Trump's first attorney general, Jeff Sessions. In 2017, Mr. Sessions sent 12 additional federal prosecutors and 20 ATF agents to Chicago, where they formed a Chicago Gun Strike Force, which similarly exploited gun-tracing technology to link and solve shootings. Those positions were permanent, whereas most of the agents sent to Chicago last month will return to their usual assignments in about two months.
Mr. Sessions credits the strategy, similar to one he employed as a federal prosecutor in Mobile, Ala., in the 1980s and '90s, for drops in crime. "You've got to put serious criminals in jail, you cannot leave them out there terrorizing neighborhoods, and gang leaders have to be prosecuted," he said in an interview.
Attorney General William Barr championed similar strategies when he was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush in the 1990s, when rates of violence in the U.S. hit a peak. The Clinton and George W. Bush administrations launched similar enforcement programs with names like Project Exile and Project Safe Neighborhoods that aimed to unite state and federal law enforcement in pursuit of federal gun cases.
The Obama administration also sent federal agents to help cities beset by violence when they requested help, current and former law-enforcement officials said.
Recalling a similar deployment of federal agents into the city a few years ago, former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the aid is most effective when coordinated through and led by Chicago police.
Mr. Trump has clashed with Democratic mayors, including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about spikes in violent crime, prompting rebuke from Democrats who described the additional resources as an effort to boost Mr. Trump's chances at re-election.
Ms. Lightfoot cautiously welcomed the federal aid.
"The only way to curb violence in our neighborhood for the long term is through all-hands-on-deck partnerships," Ms. Lightfoot said.
Chicago may not be able to recover from this disaster without stronger leadership.
When you're a leader, and you give in to a violent mob even just a little bit, it's already too late to go back.
Mayor Lightfoot, You have failed this city...