Chicago — Less than two months ago, Chicago Ald. Byron Sigcho Lopez (25th) publicly stated in the City Council that he wanted fewer Chicago police officers in his ward.
“Take the white supremacists, too,” Sigcho Lopez said before marching out of the meeting.
Less than a month later, Sigcho Lopez called for a 48-hour gang “ceasefire” because too many people were being shot and killed in his ward.
On Friday, he attended a press conference where organizers hoped to raise awareness about a pattern of armed robberies of street vendors.
“We are demanding of the City of Chicago the same public safety measures that we have in every other neighborhood,” Sigcho Lopez said, an apparent shift from his City Council-announced position of wanting fewer police in his ward.
Several vendors and community members attended the press conference, too. It’s unclear how many knew that Sigcho-Lopez had volunteered to have police resources taken away from them.
Sigcho Lopez became alderman in 2019. Shootings in his ward are up 191% during his term — their highest level since at least 2010, which is as far back as the city’s online database goes.
Tragically, a short time after Friday’s food vendor press conference, also in Sigcho Lopez’s ward, a gunman shot four teenagers at dismissal time outside Benito Juarez High School. Two boys died.
In reality, alderpersons have no influence over how the Chicago Police Department deploys its officers. But Sigcho Lopez is getting his publicly-stated desire to have fewer cops in the ward anyway.
Two police districts that serve the bulk of Sigcho Lopez’s constituents have lost a significant number of cops since he became an alderman, according to the Chicago Office of Inspector General.
The Near West (12th) District has lost 25% of its officers since Sigcho Lopez was sworn in, dropping from 367 officers to 276 today. The Ogden (10th) District has 299 cops this month, 17% fewer than in May 2019.