Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she has a “thousand percent confidence” in the city’s police superintendent after an inspector general report suggested the department was not equipped to handle 2020’s summer riots.
Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s office reported Police Superintendent David Brown and his staff were “outflanked and underprepared” during the riots that erupted in 2020 after the death of George Floyd.
“The challenges in responding to large-scale protests and unrest amidst a global pandemic were daunting, but the efforts of CPD and the City to stem unrest were marked, almost without exception, by confusion and lack of coordination in the field, emanating from failures of intelligence assessment, major event planning, field communication and operation, administrative systems and, most significantly, leadership from CPD’s highest ranks,” according to the Chicago inspector general’s office.
The report described mistakes made by CPD leadership as having “failed the public” and cited that rank-and-file officers were left to “high-stakes improvisation without adequate supervision or guidance.”
Lightfoot, however, backed her superintendent, saying Brown brings “integrity and legitimacy” to the role. The mayor also disputed a claim in the report that said she rejected Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s early offer to call on the National Guard to help Chicago police officers manage the unrest.
“There was never a time that it was offered and we rejected it. That’s simply not true. I don’t even know where that came from,” Lightfoot told reporters on Friday.
Alderman Ray Lopez, a Democrat who is one of Lightfoot’s fiercest critics, called for the mayor to fire Brown after the report. Lopez has long been outspoken about the mayor’s handling of violent protests and rising crime in the city and at one time had bricks thrown through the window of his office.
Chicago saw a storm of rioters in 2020, which included episodes of looting and property destruction heavily concentrated in the city’s downtown area.
Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx made national news when she dropped charges on some 800 nonviolent protesters, some of whom were involved with looting shops.