Progressive Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been secretly protected by a specialist squad of greater than 70 cops — one arrange the identical yr she pushed to slash $80 million from the police finances, in response to studies.
Chicago police’s beforehand unknown Unit 544 has 65 officers together with 5 sergeants and a lieutenant assigned to guard the mayor — on prime of her private bodyguard element of about 20 officers, the Chicago Sun-Times revealed Monday, citing public information.
Also referred to as the Government Security Detail, the unit’s potential recruits had been instructed its “mission will be to provide physical security for City Hall, the mayor’s residence and the mayor’s detail command post,” the paper stated.
“Through the coordination of intelligence and resources, officers will respond to all threats related to the mayor’s physical properties to ensure its protection,” a recruitment memo reportedly stated.
That memo was despatched in July 2020, the yr that Lightfoot pushed to slash the police department’s budget by $80 million, axing a whole lot of jobs, amid rising calls to defund the police throughout protests over the homicide of George Floyd.
Lightfoot later backtracked, rejecting the decision to defund the pressure and finally rising the finances.
But critics famous that the secretive police unit was employed at a time of rising complaints over the dwindling presence of patrol officers — mockingly partly because of patrols preserving “Defund the police” protesters from Lightfoot’s home in Logan Square, the Sun-Times famous.
“While murders are soaring, while districts are barebones for manpower, all that matters is protecting her castle,” John Catanzara, president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, instructed the Sun-Times.
Lightfoot confirmed the existence of Unit 544, insisting it was set as much as cowl for the shortage of a “unified command” for potential mayoral emergencies.
“And then obviously, in 2020 in particular, there were a significant amount of protests all over the city, and some of them targeted at my house,” she instructed the Sun-Times
“All the more reason why having a unified command to understand and share intelligence and be ready to respond if there was any kind of threat was very important,” she stated.
That risk grew to become all too actual final month when a person indignant over parking tickets was busted firing a gun and attempting to ship a letter to her residence, the paper famous. Joseph Igartua, 37, is being held with out bond on expenses of stalking and reckless discharge of a weapon.
“I thank God for the police protection that we have, but this one is really unnerving. And scary,” she stated.
“When somebody shows up at your house, clearly going through a mental crisis, with a loaded gun, that’s frightening,” Lightfoot stated.
“This was real. And it scared us. I’m not gonna lie. It was very, very frightening. So I’m thankful for the quick work of the police department to really protect us against this real threat,” she instructed the Chicago paper.