'I haven't seen s**t like this': Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot fumes after 18 killed in city's deadliest day in 60 years
In an audio, the African-American mayor was heard conversing with her shocked officials as the city witnessed worst unrest in several decades
Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Lori Lightfoot recently blasted rioters as “f***ing lawless” in a meeting with panic-stricken officials who spoke about prowling armed gang members and said the city is “worse than it was in 1968” when a serious riot broke out in the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr in Memphis. On May 31, Lightfoot, the first African-American woman to become the mayor of Chicago last year, said during an online conference call: “I don't know about you, I haven't seen s**t like this before, not in Chicago” while briefing the aldermen about the civil unrest that broke out following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
May 31 saw as many as 18 people getting killed in Chicago, the deadliest in the city in six decades. Six were killed on May 30, marking that weekend as one of the worst in the city’s history of violence. The audio revealing Lightfoot’s words was obtained by WTTW News and in it, one alderman is heard breaking down in tears while others expressed outrage over their communities turning into “wild, wild west”. Officials warned that they have not witnessed such chaos in the Illinois city since the riots of 1968 that had claimed 11 lives and saw more than 2,000 getting arrested.
“This is far worse than it was in 1968,” Alderman Ed Burke, who was elected to the City Council in 1969, said while cautioning that vigilantes could take things into their own hands, Daily Mail reported. Alderman Mike Rodriguez also said Little Villa residents were setting up their own vigilante groups to protect businesses in the shopping district of 26th Street. “I’m talking about all segments of our community, including some on this call would prefer to be incarcerated,” he said.
“I think there are people of all stripes coming together, and I pray that holds tonight,” he added.
'Looters had no connection with Floyd death'
The alderman who was heard breaking down is Susan Sadlowski-Garza. She was heard saying that her ward had become a “sh**t show”. “They are shooting at the police,” she said about the rioters, adding that a group of 40 looters who had no connection to the protests over Floyd’s death in police brutality broke into a marijuana dispensary. She said the scenes were unprecedented. The officials also warned that the elderly people would be the hardest hit of the lot as destruction of local businesses would see them losing access to food and medicine.
Lightfoot, 57, said there was a “massive, massive problem” and that “people are just f**ing lawless right now”.
Alderman Michelle Harris said it would be a herculean task to convince retailers like Walmart and CVS to rebuild in her community after the vandalism that took place. “It’s like, what are we going to have left in our community?” Harris is heard saying, before answering: “Nothing”.
“I feel like I am at ground zero. My major business district is shattered. Why would Walmart or CVS come back to our communities?” The officials urged Lightfoot to send in the National Guard to protect the local businesses but she was not too convinced saying the Guard is “not a magic tool” and deploying its troops has made things worse in some areas.
It was even heard in the call that Lightfoot had altercation with officials like Alderman Raymond Lopez. While the mayor told him he is “100% full of s**t”, he hit back saying she needed to check her “f**ing attitude”. The spat occurred after Lopez said his Southwest Side ward had turned into “a virtual war zone” where the gang members walked around with AK-47s and threatened to shoot black Americans. He wanted Lightfoot to put in a plan to stabilize the city’s neighborhoods for five days.
Lightfoot concluded the meeting by asking the aldermen to “pray for us all”.