Amid an impending conclusion to the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis and growing unrest in the wake of the recent fatal officer-involved shooting of Daunte Wright, tensions surrounding police use of force continue to build, and one liberal Midwestern mayor is feeling the heat.
Facing growing outrage over her handling of the March police-involved death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in her city, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) angrily lashed out on Sunday against online rumors that was planning to resign, bluntly calling them “trash,” as Fox News reported.
The controversy began when police reform activists expressed disapproval of Lightfoot’s comments earlier this month calling for “calm” in the wake of Toledo’s death in which she also asked the public to reserve judgment until the work of an independent review board was complete, as PBS Newshour noted.
According to CBS News, soon after those remarks, protestors commenced their demands for Lightfoot’s resignation, citing what they called her slow release of information in the case and inaction on what they believe is a need to redirect resources away from law enforcement and into the community.
As rumors of Lightfoot’s imminent departure gained steam online over the weekend, the mayor herself felt compelled to respond, blasting “some media members and verified Twitter handles [who] are peddling this trash as truth,” which the openly gay mayor further characterized as “homophobic, racist and misogynistic.”
Former Chicago mayoral hopeful Ja’Mal Green, apparently among those who participated in spreading the scuttlebutt about Lightfoot, offered a half-hearted mea culpa for his involvement, but explained, “…[Lightfoot] said she wanted civilian oversight of police, lie. Said she wanted to change water lead pipes, lie,” adding:
I know Lori is mad that folks have started rumors and I’m sorry I helped by saying she’s resigning but the reality is, we’ve been lied to since the beginning of this administration. So much that the people have lost hope. 73% of Chicagoans think we’re on the wrong path!
This is not the first time activists have demanded Lightfoot’s resignation amid a similar controversy involving law enforcement. Late last year, a group of concerned citizens called on the mayor to leave office over what they believe was a cover-up of misconduct related to a botched police raid in which an innocent woman was handcuffed naked by armed officers in her own home.
Lightfoot’s tenure as Chicago mayor has been marked by a dramatic increase in violence and crime in the Windy City, with shootings in March up by 70% over the same time period a year prior, and murders up 50%, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. She has also faced criticism for the city’s slow progress toward compliance with a federal consent decree on police accountability and for not fulfilling her own promise to create a civilian law enforcement oversight panel.
Considering the skyrocketing crime rates and unchecked gang-related brutality that just this weekend claimed the life of a 7-year-old girl in the city’s Homan Square neighborhood, it might be best for the beleaguered city if the leadership change hinted at in this weekend’s rumors indeed comes to pass.