Councilmembers seek more information on Chicago weekend violence
CHICAGO (WLS) -- With growing concerns about how Chicago police plan to keep the city safe over the 4th of July holiday weekend, more than a third of the city council is demanding to hear from the superintendent.
They have now called for a special city council meeting on Friday to get answers. It is set for 11 a.m. Friday, but it depends on whether at least 26 aldermen attend to give them a quorum.
And with the pressure on Chicago Police Supt. David Brown to provide details of the anti-violence plan growing, he still has not committed to attending.
After two straight weekends with mass shootings, Chicago police are hoping to avoid a third this 4th of July weekend. Alderman are now demanding details on the police plan to keep the city safe.
"I don't think that it's unreasonable for us to ask for an additional meeting right before one of the biggest holidays of the year, which has historically been a violent weekend," said Ald. Rod Sawyer, 6th Ward.
He had one of those mass shootings happen right in his ward. Sawyer said the general plans Brown has previously talked about are not sufficient.
"We want to hear additional plans, so if you had to repeat them, repeat them. If you have to put them into crayon, put them in crayon, but give us the plan, make us feel safe," Sawyer said.
Nineteen alderman signed a letter Wednesday calling a special virtual city council meeting on Friday. They are threatening a resolution of no confidence if Brown does not testify.
"For them to not show up, I think would be unconscionable and unacceptable," said Ald. Brian Hopkins, 2nd Ward.
Hopkins, who represents part of the downtown area, said constituents tell him they no longer feel safe.
"Our voters are demanding solutions from us," Hopkins said. "We're in turn demanding them from the mayor and the superintendent."
He added that aldermen are tired of getting spoon-fed information from the superintendent without being asked for their input.
"We need to have that conversation. We need to have it out in the open, he's only one man, and it can't all be on his lap, but we need to hear from him," Hopkins said. "We need to see that he has a plan to respond to the changing conditions that we're seeing. We're off to a bad start in this summer."
One community leader said safety is not just the job of the police superintendent, and the problem isn't just in Chicago.
"This mood of hatred and hostility is pervasive in the nation, there's a spiritual health issue in this country, and even in this city," said Rev. Janette Wilson, Rainbow PUSH. "And so until we turn as, Reverend Jackson often says, to each other and not on each other, it will continue."
Alderman Ray Lopez, who organized the letter demanding the Friday city council meeting, said that even though only 19 aldermen signed on, he's confident there will be a quorum, meaning at least 26 city council members in attendance.
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR LORI E. LIGHTFOOT
The safety of our residents is the top priority of my administration. Residents must feel safe in our city, and we remain committed to being transparent about our plans to ensure that all Chicagoans feel protected.
Since April, all fifty aldermen were given the opportunity to attend three separate, formal briefings hosted by the Superintendent and his team covering the Police Department's plan for summer deployments, summer operations, and the summer safety strategy. In addition, the Superintendent and senior members of the department have a regular cadence of calls with individual aldermen to discuss ward-specific matters. The Superintendent also holds a regular weekly press conference to review the previous week's events. These formal opportunities are in addition to CAPS meetings and other ways in which aldermen and the public can interface regarding citywide, ward, or neighborhood-specific issues or concerns.
Public safety of our city is an important, serious matter. It is unfortunate that for some, it is being used as a political wedge issue. Nonetheless, I look forward to this special meeting on Friday to provide yet another opportunity for aldermen to be briefed on our whole of government approach to public safety.