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Chicago Voters Oust Lightfoot After She Failed At Police Reform

Four years ago, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot was a darling among national Democrats. She was the first openly gay Black woman mayor and only the second woman to win election in the city’s history. On Tuesday, she joined Jane Byrne and Michael Bilandic as the the only elected mayors of Chicago to be denied a second term since Prohibition. How did Lightfoot fall so far, so fast? Part of it was the hand she was dealt: the pandemic, civil unrest triggered by the murder of George Floyd and the violent crime wave after those demonstrations, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Bad timing is too simple an explanation for Lightfoot’s stunning downfall.

It does not explain why violent crime is up 40% since Lightfoot promised during her inaugural address to stop the “epidemic of gun violence that devastates families, shatters communities, holds children hostage to fear in their own homes” and leaves parents wondering “if Chicago is a place where they can continue to live and raise their children.” Lightfoot conceded to Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson Tuesday night. Exhibit “A” was reforming the police department. It was supposed to be Lightfoot’s greatest strength. She served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Police Board president. She co-chaired the Task Force on Police Accountability, which championed reforms laying the groundwork for a federal consent decree in the furor after the shooting of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police. “She brought in, as the interim [police superintendent], the person in the United States who had successfully transformed a big-city police department under terms of a consent decree,” said former Inspector General Joe Ferguson, referring to Charlie Beck, retired Los Angeles police chief. Then, “she brought in a permanent superintendent who undid all of that in a matter of two weeks, then never held him to account,” Ferguson added, referring to David Brown, whom Lightfoot lured from Dallas.


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