SAVANAH HERNANDEZ REPORTS: Chicago's new mayor downplays violence of 'Teen Takeover' mob—citizens pay the price

" is not constructive to demonize youth..."

Savanah Hernandez Texas, US

Last weekend, Chicago erupted into chaos as hundreds of teenagers took to the streets to riot, loot, and attack innocent bystanders downtown. The mob called their riot a "Teen Takeover," and two teens were shot and injured in the mayhem.

Since that time, mayor-elect Brandon Johnson has not only doubled, but tripled down on downplaying the violence, now chocking the rioting up to a “silly decision” and the criticism of the violence a "demonization of children.”

“Demonizing children is wrong,” Johnson begins, “they’re young, sometimes they make silly decisions, they do, and so we have to make sure that we are investing to make sure that young people know that they are supported,” he finished. 

This follows the initial statement that Johnson released in which he downplayed the hundreds of teenagers who spent the evening destroying vehicles, smashing windows, robbing bystanders, and engaging in violent activity in downtown Chicago. 

One of the most shocking moments to come out of the weekend was a video showing a couple being beaten by a mob of teens. Police reports stated that, “The offenders struck the victims several times before taking their personal property and fleeing in an unknown direction." 

A Chicago woman ended up having to save the couple after a police car she tried to flag down refused to stop. Identified as Lenora, she said that she took the couple to the local police station, where an officer told her “that this was going to happen, it’s going to keep happening because Brandon Johnson got elected…that floored me,” she stated.

The day after the violence, Johnson released an initial press statement writing, "In no way do I condone the destructive activity we saw in the Loop and lakefront this weekend…However, it is not constructive to demonize youth who have otherwise been starved of opportunities in their own communities."

Johnson’s statements have been criticized for downplaying the violence that left two teens shot, 15 more arrested, and several people hospitalized. Charges from the weekend include one 16-year-old being charged with unlawful use of a weapon, and an adult and juvenile charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, per WGN

This uptick in violence follows soft-on-crime actions throughout the city and state. For example, in January, Illinois passed a new law under the SAFE-T act, eliminating cash bail for criminals, meaning judges can no longer require people to pay money in order to leave jail while they await trial, unless they meet a certain criteria, per WBEZ.

Mayor-elect Johnson also seems to be following these soft-on-crime trends as he continues to downplay and defend the violent actions that left Chicago in a state of turmoil.


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