Chicago, IL – Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot urged residents not to use guns to defend themselves in the midst of widespread rioting and destruction throughout the city, and suggested they just call the police to come help them instead.
Lightfoot made the bewildering statement during a press conference on Monday, as she and Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent David Brown denied allegations that they had pulled police from certain neighborhoods in order to focus protection efforts on the downtown area, WTTW reported.
“I want to be absolutely clear on this,” Lightfoot told reporters. “There is no way we would ever let any neighborhood receive more protection than any others. Ever.”
“We didn’t stand by and let the South and West sides burn, as some people are propagating,” she insisted. “The strategy yesterday was to add more personnel and services on the South and West sides.”
Chicago’s 911 center took 65,000 calls for service in a 24-hour period over the weekend, WTTW reported.
They generally receive just 15,000 calls on an average weekend.
“The police department was responding as best they could,” Lightfoot said. “The challenge was, it was everywhere. Everywhere. The violence and looting spread like a wildfire.”
At least 180 buildings were damaged during the mayhem.
Nearly 700 people were arrested, and over 130 CPD officers were injured, WLS reported.
Despite the severity of the chaos, violence and destruction, Lightfoot urged people not to take up arms if they end up coming under attack.
“Obviously we’re aware of the fact that Illinois is a concealed carry state and that many people have weapons at their disposal in their homes and their businesses,” the mayor told reporters.
“Do not take matters into your own hands. Call the police,” Lightfoot ordered. “Do no pick up arms and try to be the police. If there’s a problem, call 911. We will respond.”
Lightfoot “urged people to show strength” by refraining from using firearms against those intent on doing them harm.
Violent rioters have torched and looted cities across the country in the wake of the May 25 in-custody death of 46-year-old George Floyd.
Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was arrested on May 29 and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd’s death during his arrest. His charges have since been upgraded to second-degree murder.
On June 3, former Minneapolis Police Officers Tou Thao, Thomas Lane, and J. Alexander Kueng were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder for their role in Floyd’s arrest.
The officers had responded to a call about a counterfeit $20 that Floyd had allegedly used to make a purchase at a deli.
Store employees pointed out the suspect to police and they arrested him.
The complaint used to charge Chauvin said Floyd actively resisted arrest and then fought being put in the back of a police car once he had been handcuffed.
Viral cell phone video showed then-Officer Chauvin and three other officers holding Floyd on the ground.
The video showed Officer Chauvin held his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, during which time the suspect lost consciousness.
Chauvin remained on Floyd’s neck for almost three minutes after he was unresponsive.
Floyd was pronounced dead 90 minutes later at the hospital.
After three days of violent riots and looting that left Minneapolis and its sister city, St. Paul, in flames, the state investigative agency announced it making an arrest.
Chauvin was taken into custody by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension four days after the incident and held on a $500,000 bond, Minnesota Department of Public Safety Commissioner John Harrington announced, according to WCCO.
According to charging documents, the medical examiner’s preliminary report found no physical evidence that Floyd had suffered from asphyxiation or strangulation at the hands of the Minneapolis police.
The preliminary autopsy findings indicated Floyd had died from a combination of his underlying medical problems and possible substances.
“The combined effects of Mr. Floyd being restrained by the police, his underlying health conditions and any potential intoxicants in his system likely contributed to his death,” according to the complaint.
But veteran forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told reporters on Monday at the Floyd family press conference that his independent autopsy determined that the man had died of asphyxiation much in the same way Eric Garner died from a choke hold in New York in 2014, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported.
The Eric Garner autopsy report showed no damage to any area of his neck, and it was determined that he died of a medical emergency induced by officers who were arresting him.
But the final autopsy findings released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office hours later confirmed that Floyd had died from heart failure.
“Cause of death: Cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” Floyd’s autopsy said. “Manner of death: Homicide.”
“How injury occurred: Decedent experienced a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s),” the report continued. “Other significant conditions: Arteriosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease; fentanyl intoxication; recent methamphetamine use.”
The toxicology results showing fentanyl and methamphetamine directly contradicted assertions by the forensic pathologist that Floyd’s family’s attorneys hired to dispute the initial medical examiner’s report.
And a postmortem nasal swab showed that Floyd tested positive SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19, according to KSTP. He had previously tested positive for COVID-19 in April 3.
Protests erupted in the Twin Cities after Floyd’s death, leaving both Minneapolis and the state’s capital of St. Paul burned, looted, and destroyed.
Rioters overran and torched the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct where the officers accused of Floyd’s homicide were assigned.
Protests spread across the United States, and became very violent in major cities like Atlanta, Dallas, Portland, Oakland, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Washington, DC.