Politics

Illinois National Guard Says It Doesn’t Know Where Its Troops Were Deployed Amid Deadly Riots

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Members of the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus accused Mayor Lori Lightfoot of mishandling the deployment of the Illinois National Guard to protect certain neighborhoods and not others, but the National Guard told the Daily Caller News Foundation it did not know where it deployed its own troops.

Aldermen said the business corridors to the South and West did not receive the same level of protection as other places amid the city’s protests over George Floyd, according to an audio recording of a conference call obtained by WTTW News, which first reported on it. Nationwide demonstrations and rioting came in the wake of Floyd’s death after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, video showed.

The Illinois National Guard was not able to directly answer where its troops were deployed when the DCNF asked.

The troops “fell under the purview of the Chicago Police Department, all we know is that they were at 30 different locations but we don’t know anything else,” Barbara Wilson of the National Guard Public Affairs Office told the DCNF.

“Please direct your request to the Mayor’s Office and/or the Illinois National Guard,” Kellie Bartoli, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman, told the DCNF.

After telling Bartoli that the Illinois National Guard deferred questions to the police department, she said that “following the increased violent and criminal activity on Saturday, May 30th, the Chicago Police Department canceled days off for all sworn members and placed members on 12-hour shifts to protect public safety citywide, directing our full force of manpower towards Chicago’s neighborhoods, particularly on the South and West Sides.”

Bartoli added that “to build on this strategy, the National Guard and Illinois State Police were requested to assist in manning the downtown perimeter so that the vast majority of Department officers could be deployed to communities across this city that required a heavier police presence.” (RELATED: ‘People Are Just F***ing Lawless Right Now:’ Chicago Aldermen Got Heated In Call With Chicago Mayor During Protests)

Bartoli called the move an “all-hands-on-deck, multi-department effort to protect Chicago’s neighborhood,” noting that the city deployed “hundreds of trucks from the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS), the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Department of Water Management (DWM) to provide strategic traffic supports at commercial corridors on Chicago’s South and West Sides.”

Neither Democratic Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker or the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus immediately responded to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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