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Chicagoans' Dislike Towards Mayor Lightfoot Reaching Tipping Point as Shootings Plague the City

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

CHICAGO, Ill. — I finished conducting an interview with Democratic Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez around 9:15 A.M. on Friday when I saw the news that a Chicago police officer had been shot in the Near West Side while on duty. The sun had been up for only a few hours. The anticipated deadly Fourth of July weekend had already seen five people shot, two of them dead, in the Loop. Now, an officer was being taken to the hospital.

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As I hopped from scene to scene at shootings all over the city during the holiday weekend, I noticed a sameness to each one. Police fill the street, crime scene tape cordons off the area, and onlookers from the neighborhood come out to see what transpired. While there is a sameness, each case is unique with victims ranging from the intended targets to bystanders. In either case, there are far too many in the Windy City.

Criticisms against Mayor Lori Lightfoot have escalated as her supposed solutions to reduce the massive number of shootings prove to be ineffective. In April, The Chicago Sun-Times reported her approval rating was below 30 percent. In my experience at crime scenes in Chicago, I've never found a shortage of dislike or resentment toward Lightfoot.

At one particular scene, where one man was shot on Friday in West Englewood, I met Shaneeka. Shaneeka was wearing an orange CeaseFire t-shirt, and arrived to find out what occurred because she said she knew the man who was shot. Last she heard about his condition, he was breathing in the ambulance.

"This violence has got to stop," Shaneeka told me. "I'm very worried about what's going to happen because there's a lot of shooting that's going on in Englewood, period. There's a lot of black men being targeted, period. I'm tired."

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"I have a son that I raise on my own," she added.

"I just wish we had more leaders who would come out and talk to these kids and tell them to put these guns down because it's not worth it. Innocent people are getting killed everyday, it's real sad," Shaneeka said holding back tears.

In a separate shooting, four people were shot by a gunman in Garfield Park on Friday evening. Speaking with Darius (not his real name) at the scene, he said he heard the shots fired.

"It's sad man. It don't make sense...it's just crazy man," Darius said at first.

"What they [city officials are] doing, they need to go back to the table or something because it ain't working. The violence is just crazy man...It's out of control." he said about city leadership. 

Darius guessed he would still vote for Lightfoot on election day but said "today I wouldn't."

On Saturday, I met LaRita after a shooting that took place in the Grand Boulevard neighborhood in which a man — who was sitting in his car as his significant other got out — got shot around ten times by a gunman who pulled up in a vehicle, according to Chicago police. The man who was shot was still in surgery by the time I arrived. A young child was in the backseat at the time of the shooting. While two bullets did enter the back of the car, the child was not severely injured, though they were hit with glass fragments. More than thirty bullet holes could be seen in the car.

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Prior to moving to Grand Boulevard, LaRita explained someone was shot and killed right outside her home in a different part of Chicago. She said they usually never see such violence on a daily basis in her new neighborhood, noting she had been at the beauty supply store outside of which the victim's car had been parked only a few hours before.

"Jesus Christ couldn't tell me to vote for [Lightfoot] again. If he came down and said, 'LaRita, vote for her,' I'd have to say, 'I'm sorry, I'm not going to be able to do it.' It's a mess, she's a mess." she said.

Alderman Lopez, mentioned earlier, has been a staunch critic of Lightfoot, to the point where he wants to replace her as mayor. To highlight how much public safety has become a top concern for city residents, Lopez has made bringing back law and order to Chicago his main campaign promise.

Lopez said he believes the "main contributing factor to the crime and violence that we're seeing increase throughout the city of Chicago absolutely starts with leadership," namely Lightfoot.

"When you have a mayor who condones this type of criminality and refuses to call out gang members and criminals on a daily basis. And who is silent to what is going on and is choosing on to focus on national issues as opposed to those core criminal acts going on our neighborhoods everyday, that leads to the pervasive emboldenment by criminals to continue what they're doing," he said.

Early Saturday morning, a man was shot and killed in Humboldt Park. A man named Donald said he was surprised he didn't hear the gunshot because he lives right around the corner. He mentioned he is also unimpressed with Lightfoot.

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"To keep it real, the Mayor, she's not doing a good job, to me," he said. "As you can see, it's not working. Whatever they got planned, it's not working. Maybe they need some more manpower, more police officers on the streets but hell, who really want to do that? Because the guns they shooting these days, it's unbelievable." 

The Sun-Times reported 71 people were shot, 7 of them fatally, over the long holiday weekend. In 2021, 19 people were killed and more than 100 people were shot during the same time period.

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