On Monday (July 27), Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she ordered two Christopher Columbus statues “temporarily” after receiving “intelligence that gave us great concern.”
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Lightfoot would not elaborate on the threat or the source that led her to believe Chicago would see a repeat of the Grant Park confrontation between protesters and police.
She did consider the threat serious enough to warrant the middle of the night removal of the statue.
“I wanted to make sure we did it as quickly as possible,” Lightfoot said, according to the Sun-Times. “We received some information that day [Thursday] that raised some very serious public safety concerns. I didn’t want to wait.”
The mayor said her decision for the statue removal came after she “consulted a lot of people along the way” and was motivated by public safety and not politics.
“I don’t do anything in a vacuum. I always make sure that we’re reaching out proactively to talk to a number of different folks. And I think people understand, given what happened and what was threatened, that this was about public safety,” she said.
Some are accusing the mayor of diverting police resources in favor of controlling downtown protests rather than South Side and West Side neighborhoods who are attempting to contain gang violence. She disagrees.
“This was about public safety,” she said. “Anyone who saw the videotapes from a previous Friday night, which saw a peaceful protest hijacked by vigilantes who came there to hurt the police but also other people got hurt in the ensuing chaos [knows better]. This was about public safety, pure and simple.”
Lightfoot also shot down doubters that the statue removal was permanent.
“I said it’s temporary,” she contended.
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