On a related subject one headline-grabbing statement emerged from the Chicago mayoral candidates’ debate. Craig Wall remarks at ABC 7 Chicago:
During the ABC7 debate Wednesday night, the candidates pointed to safety concerns time and time again, with one candidate in the hot seat over his “tough on crime” comment.
The candidates talked a lot about crime with different ideas and approaches for how to tackle it. But it was Willie Wilson who raised some eyebrows and some ire with his comments about criminals needing to be hunted down like animals.
Wilson in his closing statement during the debate said if elected mayor he’ll remove the handcuffs on police officers so they are empowered to catch suspects fleeing to avoid arrest.
“Somebody run, chase somebody by foot or car, that police officer should be able to chase them down, and hunt them down like a rabbit, okay,” Wilson said.
Mayor Lightfoot pounced on the statement in a characteristic fashion:
“For a candidate for mayor to say that we ought to take the handcuffs off police and let them hunt down human beings like rabbits is an extraordinary thing,” Lightfoot said. “I fully and utterly condemn it.”
Meanwhile Mr. Wilson’s response to the mayor’s criticism was mild:
Wilson, who lost a 20-year-old son to murder, doubled down on his comment by accusing Mayor Lightfoot of trying to make something out of nothing.
“So I think the mayor done lost her mind. I really do. I think she’s out of touch,” Wilson said. “You know, if she wasn’t out of touch she would know she has to protect the people at all costs.”
Willie Wilson received a plurality of the votes of Chicago’s black voters in the last set of mayoral primaries three years ago. His popularity has only grown since then, spurred in part no just by frank statements but by his giving away free gas to people living on the South and West sides.
Maybe I’m reading the tealeaves wrong on this but I doubt Wilson will pay a penalty for saying what probably 80% of Chicagoans are thinking.
My own view is that more active policing is necessary but not sufficient. What is most necessary is for law enforcement, City Hall, the City Council, prosecutors, and the judiciary to all be rowing in the same direction. That will take some work and some time.