Chicago, IL – A group of Chicago lawmakers want to ask Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to send in the Illinois National Guard to shut down the violent riots and looting in the city.
Chicago Aldermen Leslie Hairston, Anthony Beale, Raymond Lopez, and Anthony Napolitano sent a letter to Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia asking for a special meeting of the city council, WMAQ reported.
The alderman want to have a meeting at 10 a.m. on Friday to consider a resolution to ask the governor to declare a state of emergency and to give Cook County officials an opportunity to explain their plans to handle “the rioting, looting, destruction, and most importantly, the safety of all Chicagoans.”
The resolution drafted by the aldermen said the city “has never seen more violence, unrest and organized looting,” WMAQ reported.
It also said that residents and visitors were “afraid to travel” in Chicago because of the unrest.
“Businesses across our City have been subject to unyielding criminals, many on the brink of failure contemplating their future in Chicago,” the resolution read. “The continued attacks against Chicago’s collective safety will impact our residential real estate, current and future investments in our communities, and our City’s future economic development.”
The alderman’s resolution also called for Pritzker to deploy the Illinois National Guard to the city for at least four months to help the Chicago Police Department restore order, WMAQ reported.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called the aldermen’s efforts to have a state of emergency declared “grandstanding,” and said some of them were just “trying to seek media attention.”
“They don’t listen, they don’t ask questions and they’re not really committed to answers,” Lightfoot ranted, according to WMAQ.
“We need to make sure we are working together to find common ground,” the mayor said. “This isn’t the way you get things done.”
“It’s quite foolish and it’s unfortunate that they are grandstanding again on an issue that’s so important,” she complained, according to WMAQ.
Rioters tore through the shopping districts of the city after an Aug. 9 officer-involved shooting in Englewood and caused millions of dollars in damage to businesses in vandalism and looting.
They even smashed the doors on the Ronald McDonald House in Streeterville and terrified sick children and their families who were staying there.
On Monday, one of the aldermen calling for the governor’s intervention expressed his concern about the rate at which Chicago police officers were retiring from the force amid rising violent crime and social unrest in the city.
Beale said he realized how many officers were leaving when he visited police headquarters for a meeting a week ago, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Beale was previously the chairman of the Chicago City Council’s police committee, and as such has many acquaintances on the force.
“From the time I walked in to the police headquarters to the time I left, which was about 35 minutes, there were nine or 10 officers who approached me and said they were leaving,” he said. “Every person who walked past me said, ‘Hey, Beale, I’m out of here.’”
The numbers might be surprising to some given that the Chicago Police Department reported that staffing had hit a 10-year high of 13,350 officers in 2019, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
Police pension records showed there were 335 retirements between January and July so far this year, the officers leaving in August and September bring that total to 445.
There were 475 retirements total in 2019 and 339 retirements total in 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.