Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s plan to refund her city’s police department by $60 million has been dismissed as a cheap political stunt by a civil rights lawyer.
Leo Terrell told Fox News Tuesday that Lightfoot’s budget, announced Monday, was just a ploy to try and boost her chances of reelection.
He said: ‘This is a political stunt, he told Fox and Friends host Steve Doocy. ‘As you said, she’s running for re-election. She cut the budget last year. She is a friend of Black Lives Matter. I can ask all of the viewers, what has Lori Lightfoot done to curb crime in the last two years? the summer riots, she’s done absolutely nothing.’
‘This is basically blood money,’ he added. ‘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.’
Civil rights attorney Leo Terrell (right) called mayor Lightfoot’s proposal to ‘refund the police’ a political stunt to help her chances at re-election
Lightfoot (pictured) has denounced ‘defund the police’, and last month she revealed her plans to ‘refund the police’ following the death of Officer Ella French
Terrell was referring to Lightfoot’s U-turn from her 2020 proposal that slashed $59million from the CPD budget, or 3.3percent, and 600 vacant positions from the department, amid Black Lives Matter protests throughout the summer of 2020.
City aldermen voted 29-21 in support of Lightfoot’s $12.8billion budget last year, which she called her ‘pandemic budget’. It included a $94 million property tax hike and controversial debt refinancing to help close a $1.2 billion deficit.
Next year, the city is facing a $733million budget shortfall attributed to the ‘lasting and continuing impacts’ of the coronavirus pandemic, the city wrote in a press release.
The city plans to alleviate the budget gap using a portion of the roughly $2billion in one-time funding from the federal American Rescue Plan.
Chicago’s property tax levy is expected to rise by $76.5million, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, but Lightfoot will hold the line on all other taxes, fines and fees.
Lightfoot has since denounced the ‘defund the police’ movement, and last month she revealed her plans to ‘refund the police’ following the shooting death of Officer Ella French.
While Lightfoot did not give an estimate of this year’s police budget, she said at a press conference last month, ‘It’s my expectation that the police department budget will increase, no question. We have to.’
She added, ‘We have to make sure we are continuing to provide resources to recruit the next generation of police officers and make sure we’re doing that recruitment in a way that reflects diversity of the city.’
But Terrell said it is too little too late to backpaddle, and pointed out that Chicago’s police union issued a vote of ‘no confidence’ in the mayor and sky rocketing crime rates in Chicago.
‘Look, the Chicago police union gave her a vote of no confidence they turned their backs on her regarding Officer French who lost her life,’ Terell said. ‘She is no friend to police officers at all and you can ask the viewers what has she done to curb crime. Absolutely nothing.’
‘Steve, Chicago is a war zone, and let me give you another powerful fact,’ Terrell added. ‘At one point this year, there were more kids shot in Chicago than those kids who have died of Covid this year. Chicago is a war zone. Kids are afraid to even walk the street. When it hits Friday, until Sunday, it is a danger for children in Chicago.’
Chicago has seen an influx in violent crime throughout 2021 and many have said they don’t have faith in Lightfoot to stem the tide.
This year through September 12, the most recent statistics from the CPD, murders, shootings and sex crimes have all spiked. Overall, however, crime has dropped by 6 percent with 30,318 incidents this year and 32,190 last year.
More children have now been shot in Chicago this year than the number of kids who have died of COVID-19 during the pandemic.
A total of 214 children, under the age of 17, have died from the virus while a total of 261 have been shot in the liberal city this year alone, according to data from police and the Center for Disease Control. Of those 261 minors who were shot, 41 were fatally wounded.
Although COVID-19 cases among children spiked over the summer, the death rates in the demographic remain low, accounting for just 0-0.27 percent of pandemic fatalities nationwide.
John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge #7, told Fox News in August that Lightfoot’s tough on cops, soft on crime approach has emboldened criminals like the killer who shot and killed Ella French, 29.
He also defended the decision by dozens of officers literally turned their backs on the mayor as she approached them at University of Chicago Medical Center following the murder.
‘She’s a flag in the wind,’ Catanzara said, suggesting that Lightfoot lacks any political backbone. ‘For two-and-a-half years that she’s been mayor, she has vilified the police. Now because the political climate says that the defund policy and the police aren’t the enemy – now she has to pivot and now she has to be our best friend? It’s too damn late.’
He added: ‘The men and women of this police department have no respect for this mayor and it was as palpable as you could possibly imagine outside that hospital at the University of Chicago.’