The president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police spoke out against the mayor's decision to cut more than 600 police jobs after several people were killed over Christmas weekend as violent crime continues to ravage the city.
At least eight people were killed and 30 more were wounded in citywide shootings over the extended holiday weekend, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday. Three people were shot and killed on Christmas Day.
"We're over 700 homicides by gun in Chicago this year and close to 800 total homicides for the year," Chicago FOP President John Catanzara told Fox News Tuesday. "It's reaching historic levels, and this when the city council and the mayor's budget just cut over 600 jobs from the police department's budget when crime is soaring. It's ridiculous."
"Literally, just two days ago, we had a kid who just turned 13-years-old go into the store to get batteries for a Christmas toy at 9 am in one of the peacefullest parts of the city, who was gunned down," he continued.
In October, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced cuts to the police department's budget in response to demands from Black Lives Matter activists to defund the police and reduce the department's $1.6 billion budget.
Lightfoot announced that the city would eliminate 618 police jobs, even as disgruntled police officers are leaving the job or retiring, creating staffing issues for the department. In her remarks on the budget cuts, Lightfoot said that police departments have played a "complicit role" in "brutally enforcing racist, Jim Crow laws, depriving Black and Brown people" of their "full rights as citizens."
"These are not just ancient times, but recent history, right here in Chicago. And so, in breaking down these barriers, we must also continue to closely scrutinize all policing practices and policies to eliminate any and all bias," she added.
Catanzara accused the mayor and other city officials of giving in to violent Antifa rioters who have "hijacked" efforts by peaceful protesters to call for police reform.
"We had many examples this summer in Chicago where peaceful protests were hijacked by anarchists," Catanzara said. "Specifically, everybody's seen the video footage from the Columbus statue assault where 52 of our officers were injured in that assault by violent anarchists. They have absolutely hijacked the movement and the narrative."
"If the goal is to have a lawless, non-police society, mission accomplished," he added. "Because the politicians in this city and state are actually falling for it."