Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Sends $280 Million Federal Covid Bag To The Police

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Written by Ann Brown
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Sends $280 Million Federal Covid Bag To The Police (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) /Police guard as protesters gather, Sept. 15, 2017, in St. Louis (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is getting major pushback for a decision to spend more than $280 million in federal covid-19 relief money on Chicago Police Department payroll and personnel costs.

When Lightfoot requested approval from the Chicago City Council to transfer about $65 million in unspent federal covid-19 money into the 2021 budget, it came to light that she had allotted $281.5 million to the CPD, The Chicago Tribune reported.

The city received about $1.2 billion from the federal government to help fill covid-19 budget holes and defray additional costs. Instead, the money was largely used for police overtime and response to the 2020 summer protests as well as for enhanced security during the November election, The Chicago Tribune reported.

The revelation prompted an angry response from activists, some aldermen, and citizens.

Civil rights advocate and Black Lives Matter activist Ja’Mal Green tweeted, “State of Chicago address: Lori Lightfoot has FAILED Chicago and it’s time for her to go. She gave federal money to police, this is honestly the last straw.”

The tweet was accompanied by a video in which Green called out Lightfoot for excessive money spent on “racist police in this city.”

“Covid relief money that she had discretion over, she used $280-plus million on the police, who already get $1.8 billion in operational costs in the budget and they already spent $400 million last year on overtime,” said Green, who who ran for mayor of Chicago but dropped out of the race in 2018. Lightfoot was sworn in as mayor on May 20, 2019. Green was a Bernie Sanders surrogate but complained Bernie didn’t go hard enough for the Black vote.

According to Green, Lightfoot should have spent the money to take care of other issues such as mental health, homelessness and e-learning.

In another Twitter video post, Green promised to try and oust Lightfoot. “I will be doing everything to organize…to make sure this mayor doesn’t get another term. She’s not the mayor of the people,” Green declared.

Some agreed with Green on Twitter.

“Shot out to @JaymalGreen you getting the word out but let’s expose everyone not just lori also these aldermen to let’s start with mitts giving millions of dollars for the construction of the police academy and alderman are quiet because they voted on the 95 mill $ construction,” posted one user.

Another spoke of disappointment in Lightfoot: “Thought lori would be a different mayor then she has turned out to be no different then any other mayor before and after Harold Washington shame on lori for even thinking she would get away with all this stuff who is this lady fighting for? This a very sneaky lady!!”

Others also wanted the money to be spent elsewhere and not on the police. Alderman Daniel La Spata urged the mayor last summer to put federal money toward housing relief or other programs that could help residents who were struggling financially due to the pandemic. La Spata said he and other aldermen heard from residents that they didn’t want federal money targeted toward police payroll.

Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 73: Jamarlin Martin Jamarlin makes the case for why this is a multi-factor rebellion vs. just protests about George Floyd. He discusses the Democratic Party’s sneaky relationship with the police in cities and states under Dem control, and why Joe Biden is a cop and the Steve Jobs of mass incarceration.

“We asked for assurances they wouldn’t spend it all on police,” La Spata said. “That’s the last thing people wanted, to infuse hundreds of millions more dollars into the Police Department right now.”

“Los Angeles County took this same pot of money that we put toward policing and put it toward rent and mortgage assistance,” La Spata told ABC News. “We could have done the same thing, it was a political choice not to.”