Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson issued a statement in defense of the rioting teenagers involved in three nights of chaos in downtown Chicago.
Johnson, a Democrat, is refusing to blame the rioters and is calling for the city not to demonize them instead.
“It is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities,” the mayor said.
“In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend.
“It is unacceptable and has no place in our city.
“However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities.
“Our city must work together to create spaces for youth to gather safely and responsibly, under adult guidance and supervision, to ensure that every part of our city remains welcome for both residents and visitors.
“This is one aspect of my comprehensive approach to improve public safety and make Chicago livable for everyone.”
The city’s outgoing Mayor Lori Lightfoot also issued a statement to downplay the violence, claiming that most of the teens are just having “a good time” and want to “enjoy” the “good weather.”
“Twice in the last few days, several large groups of young people have gathered across the city,” Lightfoot said.
“Many of them were there to have a good time and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather.
“However, some of those young people were involved in reckless, disrespectful, and unlawful behavior.
“As I have said before, we as a city cannot and will not allow any of our public spaces to become a platform for criminal conduct.
“Most importantly, parents and guardians must know where their children are and be responsible for their actions. Instilling the important values of respect for people and property must begin at home.
“I appreciate the individuals and business people who have reached out to me to express concerns.
“I have shared those concerns with the acting Superintendent and senior leadership within the Police Department in very candid and productive conversations.
“CPD leadership has assured me that they will make the necessary adjustments to address these teen trends issues as we move into the summer months.
“We have invested millions of dollars to support community-based organizations to partner with youth to co-activate fun, safe spaces all over the City throughout the year.
“We ask parents to partner with us by making sure that your children’s plans are safe and that they know when to exit a situation before it becomes unsafe.”
However, despite Lightfoot’s claims, videos from the weekend show huge mobs of teens running wild in the city, not just small groups as she suggests.
Ald. Raymond Lopez said:
“Investing Million$ w/ community-based partners has been a failure because nobody holds them accountable for actually doing anything.
“From contact tracing to violence interruption, Lightfoot has only been focused on nonprofit capacity building, not metrics of outcomes for success.”
Investing Million$ w/ community-based partners has been a failure because nobody holds them accountable for actually doing anything. From contact tracing to violence interruption, Lightfoot has only been focused on nonprofit capacity building, not metrics of outcomes for success. https://t.co/t7cJAfHtIc
— Ald. Raymond Lopez (@RLopez15thWard) April 16, 2023
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