Righteous Anger: Communities Respond To Chicago Mayor's Call For Calm

As Chicago police released bodycam footage of an officer shooting a 13-year-old dead, Mayor Lori Lightfoot asked the city to remain calm and reserve judgment.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) sparked uproar from community figures and activists Thursday after she urged the public to remain peaceful until authorities complete an investigation into the fatal police shooting of a 13-year-old boy last month.

“You can’t keep murdering people and then calling for peace. That’s not how anything works,” tweeted North Carolina activist and filmmaker Bree Newsome. “The fact that police, in the midst of all that’s happening with heightened scrutiny on policing, can’t refrain from killing more people is further proof that the institution can’t be redeemed.”

Body camera video released Thursday by a police oversight group showed Adam Toledo, who was Latino, being shot and killed by police on March 29 in the predominantly Latinx and Black neighborhood of Little Village in Chicago’s southwest.

In a news conference prior to the release of that footage and details of the investigation, Lightfoot called on people to withhold judgment until the Civilian Office of Police Accountability completes its investigation.

“This remains a complicated and nuanced story, and we all must proceed with deep empathy and calm and importantly, peace,” she said.

Police called the encounter an “armed confrontation,” yet the video of the shooting shows no weapon in the boy’s raised hands. Lightfoot previously pledged to find the people responsible for “putting a gun into the hands” of a child.

The news follows the death of Daunte Wright, a Black man fatally shot by police in a Minneapolis suburb during a traffic stop on Sunday. The shootings have reignited and compounded the anguish of Chicagoans and others around the country fighting for an end to the repeated killing of Black and brown people at the hands of police.

The Chicago Police Department has a dark history of police brutality and coverups of that violence that have led to growing distrust of the mayor and police.

Tensions were especially high in Little Village, where community activists took to the streets to demand Lightfoot’s resignation.

“When I saw that video today, something inside of me died. I couldn’t even bear to watch the whole video myself. I felt like my childhood just died,” youth organizer Kristian Armendariz told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Other activists and community leaders spoke up on social media following Lightfoot’s address. Some reminded her that peace and calm serve the authorities who killed Toledo, not those seeking justice for him.

Chance the Rapper, born and raised in Chicago, retweeted a message he first shared last June.

Other community members also begged for police reform.

A number of Democratic lawmakers, too, demanded justice. These included Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and Reps. Brad Schneider and Marie Newman; Missouri Rep. Cori Bush and California Reps. Karen Bass and Ro Khanna.

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