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Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot appears to have reversed course on her failed “defund the police” efforts as soaring violent crime continues to rock the city.
What are the details?
According to the Chicago Tribune, “Lightfoot unveiled a $16.7 billion spending plan Monday that boosts funding for police, relies on federal money to help fill the city’s budget hole and funds a host of new community programs as she seeks to move Chicago past the ongoing pandemic and to address rampant gun violence.”
The proposal suggests lifting the Chicago Police Department’s annual budget to $1.9 billion, up from $1.7 billion in 2021, the news outlet reported.
Fox News added that the proposal followed “a bloody weekend that saw nine homicides across the city, 56 people shot, and an alderman attacked.”
The shocking violence is more of the same for Chicago. Since the start of 2020, the prominent Midwestern city has experienced violent crime at levels not seen in decades. And despite the city’s attempts to combat crime through alternative measures, so far in 2021, things have only gotten worse.
Crime data released earlier this month by the Chicago Police Department showed that as of Sept. 1 the city has recorded 524 homicides and 2,344 shootings — up 3% and 9%, respectively, over the same time period last year.
“I know that community safety and thriving communities are at the top of all of our minds wherever you live in Chicago,” Lightfoot said before unveiling a pro-police proposal that expands an Officer Wellness program within the CPD.
It’s a stark contrast from her attitude toward police in 2020.
Last year, the mayor repeatedly blamed guns for the rise in violence and proposed cutting Chicago’s police budget by $80 million, or 3%. The reduction in funding marked the end of four consecutive years of increasing the police budget and came even as crime soared in the Windy City.
Police officers in the city, despite feeling under-appreciated and attacked by their own political leaders, courageously continued to perform their duties to protect the city’s residents. But Lightfoot’s failure to lead was not lost on them.
Last month, officers turned their backs on Lightfoot when she entered a hospital where two of their comrades were being treated after being shot while on duty. One officer, Ella French, died of her injuries, and the other officer was left fighting for his life.
Given the timing of Lightfoot’s budget proposal and her progressive pedigree, some are not so sure the mayor’s change of heart is genuine. Fox News contributor and civil rights attorney Leo Terrell is among the skeptical.
“This is a political stunt,” Terrell said Tuesday. “She’s running for re-election. She cut the budget last year. She is a friend of Black Lives Matter … This is basically blood money. I’ll tell you right now, she turned down help from Donald Trump a couple years ago and all she is trying to do is kowtow to her political base.
“The Chicago police union gave her a vote of no confidence they turned their backs on her regarding Officer French who lost her life,” he added. “She is no friend to police officers at all, and you can ask the viewers what has she done to curb crime. Absolutely nothing.”