Chicago Alderman Anthony Napolitano fired back at Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) on Monday over her refusal to directly address surging violent crime in the Windy City, which has resulted in more than 300 murders so far this year.
What happened over the July Fourth weekend?
Chicago experienced a particularly violent weekend to celebrate America's 245th birthday.
Over the extended weekend beginning the night of July 2, more than 100 Chicagoans were shot, resulting in at least 17 fatalities, the Chicago Tribune reported. Victims included two police officers and five children under the age of 13, according to WLS-TV.
The same number of people were murdered over the Independence Day holiday weekend last year, but fewer people — just 87 — were shot.
What does Lightfoot blame?
The Democratic mayor has dismissed Chicago's gang problem, instead blaming the violence on systemic discrimination, the COVID-19 pandemic, and gun laws.
In an interview with WTTW-TV last month, Lightfoot characterized the violence as a "pandemic-spurred surge," and called it a "manifestation of systemic problems."
"When you see, in way too many neighborhoods, a lack of jobs, a lack of investment — these are historic, decades-long problems, and they manifest themselves in an eruption of violence," Lightfoot said. "The other thing I think is unique to Chicago is we are surrounded by jurisdictions ... that have very lax gun laws."
"We know that federally licensed gun dealers are selling to criminals and straw purchasers," she said. "We know that because of our proximity to states like Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan that you can go across the border into these states, and if you've got the cash, you can buy literally military-grade weapons of any quantity and bring them back to Chicago," she claimed.
What did Napolitano say?
During an interview Monday on Fox News, Napolitano dismissed Lightfoot's claims as "pure nonsense."
"We have the strongest and the strictest gun laws in the state, if not the country," Napolitano said, explaining that neighboring states and cities don't have the same level of violent crime as Chicago, despite Lightfoot blaming those municipalities for their "lax" gun laws.
"We have a people problem here in Chicago. I've been saying this for a long time, we have zero accountability for parents in the city of Chicago," the alderman continued. "Nobody is raising their kids anymore, the gangs are raising them."
Napolitano, who called Chicago "a war zone," also tore into Kim Foxx, the Cook County state's attorney, whom Napolitano called "by far the worst in the nation" who "wants to prosecute nobody."
Napolitano, however, didn't only bring problems to the interview — he also proposed a solution. He said Chicago lawmakers can take corrective action to start cleaning up the city's streets.
"As legislators, if we start changing the way our city ordinances are written, we can start hitting criminals in the pocket, on behalf of what crimes they're committing in the city of Chicago alone," he said. "The state's attorney can drop all of her charges every day of the week like she's been doing. But we should take care of it more at the local level and that's a way that we can start curbing crime here."
Chicago Alderman Raymond Lopez, a Democrat, has also criticized Lightfoot for ignoring Chicago's gang problem by pinning blame for the city's violence on racism.