B.A.W.N- CHICAGO This week Chicago became the largest American city ever to elect a black woman as its mayor as voters on Tuesday chose Lori Lightfoot, a former prosecutor, to replace Rahm Emanuel. For the record-when she takes office in May, Ms. Lightfoot also will be the city’s first openly gay mayor.
Ms. Lightfoot, who has never held elective office, easily won the race, with a double digit lead. The results this week ended as Lori Lightfoot overwhelming a better-known, longtime politician Toni Preckwinkle, a former alderman who is president of the Cook County Board and who had for years been viewed as a highly formidable candidate for mayor.
Ms. Lightfoot’s win signaled a notable shift in the mood of voters and a rejection of an entrenched political culture that has more often rewarded insiders and dismissed unknowns.
For many voters, the notion that someone with no political ties might become mayor of Chicago seemed an eye-opening counterpoint to a decades-old, often-repeated mantra about this city’s political order: “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.”
Still overshadowing Chicago is the way it has dealt with Community Violence and Police Brutality across the nation.
The city of Chicago paid more than $85 million last year to settle police misconduct lawsuits and another $28 million to private attorneys to defend City Hall in those cases, records show.
The $113 million-plus total is more than in any year since at least 2011, according to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter of data from the city’s law department.
For an example- many people around the nation know of the well known case in Chicago with the police officer shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald which sparked citywide protests in November 2015.
This ignited Chicago’s ongoing movement for police reform, but the Chicago Police Department’s records still to date show the gaping racial disparities in everyday use of force that has played a role in creating the deep distrust in the city’s police department among communities of color.
For for the record- CPD’s data shows that reported force is applied unevenly across Chicago. African-Americans, Hispanics, and whites each make up about a third of the city’s population, but police report using force on these groups at sharply different rates. Between 2005 and 2015, roughly 72 percent of all CPD uses of force targeted African-Americans.
The ongoing mayhem is the result of Chicago police officers’ withdrawal from proactive enforcement, making the city a dramatic example of what many reform specialist have coined the “Ferguson effect.”
Lightfoot considers herself a police reformer but the records show that during the early 2000s, Lightfoot’s rulings cut both ways on controversial shootings by police officers. In one particularly egregious fatal shooting caught on video, Lightfoot stood against the police brass and moved to fire an officer.
But in another case, she sided with high-ranking officers over her investigators, who had recommended that a cop be fired for lying repeatedly about a fatal shooting they found unjustified. Lightfoot declared the shooting justified and confirmed a 30-day suspension.
According to Lighhtfoot’s Mayor campaign website:
Lori consistently worked to accommodate families and community input at Police Board hearings, consistently and aggressively challenged investigative bodies to bring cases to the board without unnecessary delays, and demanded that the City’s corporation counsel substantially improve its representation of people who experienced police misconduct by using at least two experienced lawyers per case and effectively presenting cases.
As Ms. Lightfoot took the stage in a downtown ballroom on Tuesday night, she acknowledged the unlikeliness of her resounding victory, in which she appeared to win all 50 of Chicago’s wards
“We were up against powerful interests, a powerful machine and a powerful mayor,” she said. “Nobody gave us much of a chance.”
Many watch groups hope the ghost of the past will not reflect and impede the progress of a city still torn with grappling police reform issues (glg)
Gregg L. Greer a Public Speaker, Minister, Social Activist, and the Editor of the One World internet journal. Greer is the Founder of Freedom First International an world renown human rights NGO. As the Editor of Black America World News– Greer has written extensively about American politics, civil rights, and the intersection of money and politics. His stories have also appeared in CNN, and he is a frequent commentator on MSNBC online, Huffington Postt, and The Daily Kos. Listen to his international radio podcast at OneWorld Talks -if you are interested in interviews from from him and others of the brightest minds today, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org His website is www.gregglgreer.com