Chicago City Council Members Seek State of Emergency, National Guard Amid Riots

Mayor says National Guard won't solve the crisis
August 21, 2020 Updated: August 21, 2020

A group of Chicago City Council members called on Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to declare a state of emergency in Chicago and deploy the state’s National Guard in response to looting and rioting.

The council held a special meeting on Friday to consider a resolution, and Pritzker, a Democrat, was asked to immediately deploy the National Guard to assist local law enforcement for a period of four months.

The City Council members also sought hearings on public safety and “reports regarding the collective and unified efforts to address the rioting, looting, destruction, and most importantly, the safety of all Chicagoans.”

“Right now we are 3 months into turmoil, destruction, looting, and rioting,” said Alderman Anthony Napolitano, who signed onto the resolution, reported the Daily Caller. “All I’m asking for is a conversation.”

Aldermen Leslie Hairston, Anthony Beale, Raymond Lopez, and Anthony Napolitano were the ones who signed onto the letter to Chicago City Clerk Anna Valencia, reported WMAQ-TV.

They argued that Chicago has “never seen more violence, unrest, and organized looting” in recent days, adding that people are “afraid to travel” across the city.

“Businesses across our City have been subject to unyielding criminals, many on the brink of failure contemplating their future in Chicago,” their resolution reads, adding: “The continued attacks against Chicago’s collective safety will impact our residential real estate, current and future investments in our communities, and our City’s future economic development.”

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot at McCormick Place in Chicago, Ill., on April 3, 2020. (Chris Sweda-Pool via Getty Images)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, attempted to downplay their concerns at a news conference. She said that two of the four aldermen “have a history of grandstanding” and are “trying to seek media attention.”

“We need to make sure we are working together to find common ground,” she continued, adding: “This isn’t the way you get things done.”

“I have zero to gain by grandstanding,” Napolitano said in response, as reported by the Daily Caller. “All it is is 20 years of me working for this city and loving it, and giving it everything I got to protect it, and I’d just like to have the conversation.”

The City Council voted on Friday 30-17 to send the resolution to the Public Safety Committee.

Lopez, meanwhile, told ABC7 that Lightfoot doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation on the ground.

“The perception of Chicago is we are spiraling out of control, and I don’t think she has an understanding of that fact,” he said. “I think too often she is trying to lead from a silo.”

But Lightfoot said on Friday that the National Guard won’t cure the violence and unrest plaguing the city.

“The National Guard has a very different set of training, very different perspective on force,” Lightfoot said. “They’re military. They are told, ‘If there’s a conflict, put down the conflict, and use all means possible to do so.’”