Aldermen Call Special City Council Meeting to Pressure Lightfoot, Brown on Crime Spike

Video: Contention at City Council and the state gets a credit upgrade. Our Spotlight Politics team gets into that and more. (Produced by Quinn Myers)

Nineteen aldermen invoked a rarely used provision of state law to call a special meeting of the Chicago City Council for 11 a.m. Friday in an effort to pressure Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Chicago police Superintendent David Brown to step up efforts to reduce violent crime.

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It is the second time this year that alderpeople have called an emergency meeting of the City Council over Lightfoot’s objections. It will be held virtually.

Members of the City Council have had ample opportunity to hear from Brown and his team on efforts to reduce violence, including three formal briefings since April, Lightfoot said in a statement.

“Public safety of our city is an important, serious matter,” Lightfoot said. "It is unfortunate that for some, it is being used as a political wedge issue. Nonetheless, I look forward to this special meeting on Friday to provide yet another opportunity for aldermen to be briefed on our whole of government approach to public safety.”  

If the police superintendent does not appear, the meeting’s agenda will allow the City Council to vote on a resolution of no confidence in Brown.

Led by Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), aldermen called the special City Council meeting on Wednesday after Public Safety Committee Chair Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) refused to hold a committee hearing about how officers will be deployed downtown and in the neighborhoods during the 4th of July holiday weekend, which is typically one of the most violent.

Lightfoot said during a one-on-one interview Tuesday on “Chicago Tonight” that the city is experiencing a “pandemic-spurred surge” in violence.

READ: Aldermen Demand Hearing on Crime as Lightfoot Dismisses Rancor at City Hall

Lightfoot has repeatedly blamed the city’s escalating crime rate on the flow of illegal guns into Chicago from states with lax gun laws.

The move by more than one-third of the city’s 50 alderpeople to force a special meeting without the support of the mayor is another indication that Lightfoot’s relationship with the City Council is badly strained.

Lighfoot told “Chicago Tonight” that her administration has “very strong relationships with a good working majority of the aldermen” and said those who have sought to publicly oppose her are attempting to “turn the legislative process into some sort of stage performance.” 

Lightfoot said she would not allow those “stunts to derail” efforts to improve Chicago government.

At least 26 City Council members must be present for the meeting to take place on Friday.

A representative for Brown declined to answer a question about whether he planned to attend the meeting.

Contact Heather Cherone: @HeatherCherone | (773) 569-1863 | [email protected]

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