Chicago activists sick of excuses for skyrocketing shootings, killings: ‘Stop blaming COVID-19’

The patience of Chicago activists is fraying as excuses for skyrocketing shooting and homicide statistics pile up.

WGN detailed the Windy City’s deadly 2020 this week while asking local activists their reaction to 762 homicides — compared to 491 last year — and 4,115 shootings to date (2,703 last year).

“We need to stop blaming COVID-19 for the uptick in gun violence in Chicago,” Tio Hardiman with Violence Interrupters told the network Thursday. “For the entire year of 2020, I’ve been trying to reach out to Mayor Lori Lightfoot to sit down with her.

“I’m not looking for a job. I’m not looking for a contract,” he said. “I would just like to share with her my perspective on reducing gun violence in Chicago.”

The comments come after a year in which Ms. Lightfoot placed the city’s violence on the coronavirus pandemic.

“All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult,” the Democrat said in July. “The ecosystem of public safety that isn’t just law enforcement but is local, community-based, they, too, have really been hit hard by [COVID-19] and are now just kind of coming back online and getting their footing.”

Community activist Paul McKinley told WGN that he, too, is frustrated with city officials.

“People are tired of doing press conferences about children that are being murdered,” Mr. McKinley said. “[They have been] maimed, crippled and paralyzed. We’re talking about children from the age of 15 and down.”