Chicago mayor calls for federal help to fight violent crime

Chicago Mayor Lori LightfootLori LightfootChicago students protest for virtual learning, COVID-19 stipends School infrastructure is a children's human rights issue — it's time the US acknowledges that The Hill's Morning Report - Biden champions filibuster reform, but doesn't have the votes MORE (D) is calling for federal officials to help her curb gun violence in the city and target its root causes. 

In a speech on Monday, Lightfoot urged U.S. Attorney General Merrick GarlandMerrick GarlandManchin open to supporting Supreme Court pick more liberal than him DOJ greenlights use of grant funds to bolster security for election workers Progressives see Breyer retirement as cold comfort MORE to utilize agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to address illegal firearms and for more prosecutors to bring criminal cases, according to The Chicago Tribune

“Keeping you safe is my priority — not one of, but the first and primary priority,” Lightfoot said to the citizens of Chicago. “I wake every morning with this as my first concern and I push myself and all involved to step up and do more and better because we cannot continue to endure the level of violence that we are now experiencing.”

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The mayor also requested that judges in Cook County stop releasing people charged with violent crimes including murder, aggravated gun possession, sex crimes, illegal gun possession and kidnapping on electric monitoring, the Tribune noted.

The solutions proposed by Lightfoot, none of which are new strategies, were reportedly criticized as "regressive" and “clearly unconstitutional.” 

Cook County Public Defender Sharone Mitchell told the Tribune the mayor “diagnosed the very real root causes of violence, the solutions were textbook policymaking based on fear.”

“The mayor’s regressive proposal calls for the pretrial detention of thousands of people who haven’t been convicted of anything and the plan could only be achieved by exploding the population of Cook County Jail in the middle of a pandemic,” Mitchell said.

Lightfoot's speech comes as Chicago police data indicated that 3,411 shootings occurred in 2021 as of earlier this month, a 9 percent increase from last year.