On Monday, less than a month after publicly stating in a City Council meeting that he wanted fewer police officers in his ward, Chicago Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th) issued another public statement. This time, he asked his ward’s residents to refrain from shooting and killing each other for 48 hours because too many people had been injured in a flurry of violence.
Shootings in Sigcho Loopez’s ward are at their highest level since at least 2010, which is as far back as the city’s online database. In fact, his ward has seen more shooting victims every year since he was elected than any year before he took office.
But, he is apparently convinced that the answer to his ward’s problem is to have fewer cops around.
During a budget hearing for the Chicago Police Department last month, several aldermen asked CPD Supt. David Brown to assign more officers to their wards. And one alderman, Matt O’Shea (19th), asked his colleagues to raise their hands if they wanted fewer police officers.
Sigcho Lopez’s hand was the only one that went up. He then started to walk out of the hearing as other aldermen shouted that they would take the cops he didn’t want.
“Take the white supremacists, too,” Sigcho Lopez yelled before heading out the door. He was referring to a decision by Brown not to fire a cop who allegedly has ties to the Proud Boys.
On Monday, after two people were killed and a third was injured in two shootings in his ward, Sigcho Lopez called for a 48-hour moratorium on shootings via Facebook.
“FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE,” Sigcho Lopez began, bookending the phrase with two emergency red light emojis for emphasis. “WE ARE CALLING FOR A 48hrs CEASEFIRE IN OUT COMMUNITIES WHILE THE PEACE KEEPING TEAMS ON THE GROUND WORK THROUGH RELATIONSHIPS FOR A TRUCE.”
Sigcho Lopzed mentioned the day’s shootings, then assured his readers that the police department was “on the ground” with “violence prevention teams.”
Both police districts where the shootings in Sigcho Lopez’s ward occurred yesterday have lost a significant number of cops since he became an alderman in May 2019, according to the Chicago Office of Inspector General.
The Near West (12th) District has lost 26% of its officers since Sigcho Lopez was sworn in, dropping from 367 officers to 273 today. The Ogden (10th) District has 302 cops this month, 13% fewer than in May 2019.
Alderpersons have no influence over how the Chicago Police Department deploys its officers. But Sigcho Lopez can sleep easy knowing that his desire to have fewer cops in the ward is being fulfilled.