Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Tuesday the city is prepared to handle any potential unrest sparked by the forthcoming verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin, warning looters not to “test” her.
“Don’t test us,” the Democrat said during a press conference. “We are ready, we are prepared, and we are ready to arrest and bring to prosecution anyone who would dare try to take the dreams of our small businesses by looting.
“Don’t test us, because we are ready,” she said.
Ms. Lightfoot made the comments during the second day of jury deliberations in the trial of Mr. Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who is charged with the second-degree unintentional murder of George Floyd.
The mayor on Tuesday dismissed recent findings by Chicago‘s inspector general that said the Chicago Police Department was “underprepared and ill-equipped” to handle the George Floyd protests that spread across the country last year.
Ms. Lightfoot said the report was based on outdated information and “did not give the department a chance to respond,” a local PBS affiliate reported. She also said the city had “learned a lot” from those protests.
“I think we’ve got a very robust plan in place,” she said. “I feel like we as a city are way better prepared than we had been to keep our residents safe.”
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tuesday afternoon that he had activated 125 members of the state’s National Guard at Ms. Lightfoot’s request. The mayor said police officers had also been placed on “high alert” and that 300 city-owned vehicles had been strategically placed around the city to protect its commercial districts, the PBS affiliate reported.
Chicago faced unrest just Friday, with two people arrested in clashes following the release of body-cam footage showing the March 29 fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo.