Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is coming under intense pressure after allowing two top assistants to have time off during the violent July 4th weekend.
This comes after the mayor vowed to get “all hands on deck” when it comes to tackling the rising crime rates across the city.
Chief of staff Sybil Madison alerted employees via e-mail that he would be out of office for a few days before the national holiday, while Lightfoot’s deputy mayor for public safety, John O’Malley, was also reported to be out of office for the majority of the week before the 4th.
As a reminder, the July 4th weekend saw over 100 people shot and 18 people killed.
Deliberate or just a coincidence?
It is believed that these two absences were already prescheduled by the mayor, as well as Police Supt. David Brown, both of whom lamented that an emergency meeting called by the city council two days before the fourth would “distract from efforts to reduce street crime,” in what many consider to be the most violent weekend in the city.
Brown was questioned rigorously during the six-hour meeting regarding his public safety plan that featured the cancellation of time off for officers.
Many officers were forced to work 12 hour shifts over the holiday weekend, in order to main a strong police presence on the streets of the city.
South Side Alderman Anthony Beale criticised Lightfoot’s “poor leadership” after she allowed aides in her office to have time off over the holiday weekend.
Alderman Ray Lopez stated that Lightfoot’s actions showed “a complete lack of commitment toward addressing the violence.”
The mayor’s office issued a statement on Friday responding to the criticism she faced throughout the past week.
A spokesperson for Lightfoot wrote that “working in the mayor’s office is a 24/7, 365 job,” reiterating that everyone who works within the office are in constant communication, despite some taking time off.
The statement continued by claiming that both Madison and O’Malley were “fully engaged every day” over the fourth weekend.
However, critics were quick to point out that, in 2019, Lightfoot banned top police leadership from taking time off over the summer, claiming that it would set a “bad example.”
Throughout the weekend, between July 2nd and July 4th, over 100 people were shot throughout the city, with 18 fatalities.
11 children were reported to be wounded in what has been confirmed as the city’s most violent weekend of the year.