Hecklers interrupt Chicago mayoral candidate forum at NW Side High School

Craig Wall Image
Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Hecklers interrupt Chicago mayoral candidate forum
With one month until the Chicago mayor election, candidates went on the offensive at a forum interrupted by hecklers at a CPS high school.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With just one month to go until the Chicago mayor election, another candidate forum was held at Steinmetz College Prep in Belmont Cragin.

Once again concerns about crime and public safety dominated the conversation, and the candidates frequently traded d barbs. They were also interrupted several times by hecklers in the audience, in particular when Brandon Johnson tried to speak.

WATCH: ABC7 Chicago mayoral candidates debate

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All nine candidates took the stage at the high school, where the blows were often low, and Mayor Lori Lightfoot was the frequent target of attack on the issue of crime.

"This mayor was asked about what she would do differently, and she doubled down on a failed policy. That is the Lightfoot way; doubling down on a failed policy that's given us a double murder rate," said Kam Buckner.

RELATED: Chicago mayoral candidate Paul Vallas trades barbs with Lightfoot

"First thing, replace Brown and his leadership team, and really end the friend and family promotion system," said Paul Vallas.

"Well, first of all, it's easy to come up here and say soundbites, but what I didn't hear is any actually concrete solutions," Lightfoot countered. "And many of the things we did hear are things we're already doing."

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ABC7 Political Analyst Laura Washington talks about the hotly-contested mayoral forum.

Lightfoot also went on the offense against two of her rivals, accusing them of not supporting police.

"There are two defunders of police on the stage," she said. "Chuy Garcia the recent one, in 2011 he slashed the sheriff's budget and slashed adult probation and created a crisis; and Brandon Johnson who wouldn't answer your question."

"It is one of the other lies that she keeps perpetuating, She's always creating smokescreens to try to cover up for all her failures," Garcia countered.

MORE: Willie Wilson defends cash giveaways amid ethics concerns

"The defunder on stage is actually Lori Lightfoot and Paul Vallas; they defunded our public schools, they defunded our mental health services," said Johnson.

Willie Wilson's controversial comments during the ABC7 debate about empowering police to "hunt down criminals" came back to haunt him, again.

READ MORE: Mayoral candidate in hot seat for 'hunting down' criminals comment

"It is disgusting when we have a 70-plus year old man on this stage, who was a former sharecropper from down south, who would get on TV and constantly double down on hunting people down like rabbits," said candidate Ja'Mal Green.

"First of all, we don't respond to kids," Wilson replied.

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Lightfoot also faced a veiled attack over her campaign's attempt to recruit Chicago Public School students to volunteer for her reelection bid.

"It's a shame that politicians, especially some on this stage, you know, have gone to unethical behavior because, you know, they felt desperate. I don't know what it is," said Sophia King.

"I contact my ethics officers all the time to make sure that I'm doing things in compliance. That is the kind of leadership that the city deserves," said Rod Sawyer.