“It’s like a time bomb out here. People are on the edge, people are angry, people are poor, and they don’t even know when it’s going to change.”
Chicago, IL, saw 18 murders in 24 hours on May 31. It’s the deadliest day in the Windy City in 60 years.
Data compiled by The Chicago Sun-Times found that “25 people were killed in the city, with another 85 wounded by gunfire” between 7 p.m. on May 29 and 11 p.m. on May 31:
A hardworking father killed just before 1 a.m.
A West Side high school student murdered two hours later.
A man killed amid South Side looting at a cellphone store at 12:30 p.m.
A college freshman who hoped to become a correctional officer, gunned down at 4:25 p.m. after getting into an argument in Englewood.
While Chicago was roiled by another day of protests and looting in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, 18 people were killed Sunday, May 31, making it the single most violent day in Chicago in six decades, according to the University of Chicago Crime Lab. The lab’s data doesn’t go back further than 1961.
Max Kapustin, a senior researcher at the lab, said they have “never seen anything like it” and did not “know how to put it into context.”
Rev. Michael Pfleger told the Sun-Times “it was ‘open season’ last weekend in his neighborhood and others on the South and West sides” as people looted and rioted:
“On Saturday and particularly Sunday, I heard people saying all over, ‘Hey, there’s no police anywhere, police ain’t doing nothing,’” Pfleger said.
“I sat and watched a store looted for over an hour,” he added. “No police came. I got in my car and drove around to some other places getting looted [and] didn’t see police anywhere.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot said on May 31 alone, Chicago’s 911 emergency center received 65,000 calls for all types of service — 50,000 more than on a usual day.
Pfleger explained the problems that have plagued these neighborhoods like decades: no jobs, hardly any housing, and food insecurity.
The lockdown associated with the Wuhan pandemic lit the fire, but a white cop killing George Floyd added gas to it:
“It’s like a time bomb out here,” Pfleger said. “People are on the edge, people are angry, people are poor, and they don’t even know when it’s going to change.”
If immediate action isn’t taken to address systemic racism, poverty and “black folks being shot down and killed out here like dogs,” Pfleger said the last weekend in May will merely serve as a “coming attraction of what’s going to happen next.”
Have any of you guys watched The Wire? If not, you should. Not only because it is the greatest TV show ever made, but because of how real it is portraying these situations. It does not beat around the bush.
The Wire showed that it’s a never-ending cycle.
Change has to start with the people. Unfortunately, one of those who could help died on May 30.
Mustafa Abdullah, the dean at Excel Academy of Roseland, described his former student Gregory Lewis, 21, as a “positive influence” and “was a really good kid.”
Abdullah noted that Lewis “was very helpful at deescalating [sic] any situations that had potential to kind of escalate into anything further.”
Lewis died after someone gunned him in a vehicle. The Sun-Times doesn’t say if it was accidental or if he was targeted.
Lazarra Daniels, 18, found her shot to death that weekend.
Keishanay Bolden, 18, was enrolled at Western Illinois University. She studied law enforcement to become a correctional officer.
Bolden was shot during an argument and died.
Teyonna Lofton, 18, was shot at a gas station after celebrating her high school graduation. She survived, but the police never answered her call for help:
As she waited in line outside the store, an SUV pulled up and someone inside opened fire into the crowd, striking Lofton and two others. Struck near her elbow, Lofton tried repeatedly to call 911 for help.
“When I needed help, to call the police and stuff, nobody responded. Nobody answered,” Lofton said. “My mom had to come from home, and we had to get to the hospital.”
On the way to Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, Lofton peered out her mother’s car window and saw the “madness” that was unfolding outside.
“It was just people jumping out their cars into stores and stealing and looting … Police was letting them do whatever they wanted,” she said.
“They did not care,” Lofton added. “Nobody cared.”
Nobody answered because of the riots and looters in Chicago. The police department had its hands full:
Kapustin of U. of C.’s crime lab said massive upheavals or protests typically require police departments to divert officers to respond to demonstrations.
“When CPD has to turn its attention elsewhere and there’s suddenly this vacuum that opens up, you also unfortunately see a picture like you saw with [last] weekend where you see an absurd amount of carnage, people getting injured and killed,” he said. “Those forces are still there.”
Kapustin said the current situation “lays bare a really nuanced understanding of the role of the police.”
But people also opened fire during the looting. John Briggs wanted to pay a bill at Metro PCS, but was shot when someone opened fire in the store.
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