A prominent Chicago Democrat who has condemned "systemic racism" in police departments and pushed to redirect funding away from law enforcement has suggested she was herself a victim in a carjacking and shooting incident involving her security detail late last month – an incident that only became public knowledge on Wednesday.
Two suspects reportedly tried to hijack the car of a member of Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle's security detail outside her home in Hyde Park Sept. 27, ABC7 Chicago reported. Preckwinkle, who was not harmed in the incident, first addressed the situation on Wednesday afternoon.
Republican Cook County Commissioner Sean Morrison told Fox News that commissioners routinely receive alerts for major and minor crimes and violence in the area, but this incident remained under wraps. He suggested that Preckwinkle may have covered up the incident. He also suggested that it was hypocritical of Preckwinkle to criticize police while maintaining her own security detail.
"I was at my home and I heard gunshots," Preckwinkle said during a budget briefing on Wednesday. "I think it's important to say that this is a pending investigation. I can confirm that there was a violent incident two weeks ago. A member of my security detail was sitting outside my home, in his police vehicle."
According to an emergency dispatcher on the night of the incident, a Cook County Forest Preserve police officer said assailants "attempted to carjack him, [and] he returned fire at them."
The assailants fled, with one leaving a shoe behind, CWB Chicago reported. Shortly after the officer fired his gun, Chicago police responded to the call of a 19-year-old man with a gunshot wound in an apartment nearby. The officers who entered his apartment found several pairs of shoes manufactured by the same obscure company that made the shoe that police found abandoned near Preckwinkle's house.
After doctors treated the man's gunshot wound to the knee, police arrested the man on an outstanding warrant because he failed to appear in court on a pending felony charge of possessing a stolen motor vehicle.
"I think this incident underscores how close to home violence is," Preckwinkle said. "There's been an uptick of crime in my own neighborhood in Hyde Park."
Yet despite her brush with violence, the board president has been "doubling down" on her anti-police agenda, Morrison told Fox News in an interview on Thursday. He said Preckwinkle brought up the idea of "reimagining or re-sourcing money away from 911 boards to mental health programs" on Thursday during a budget presentation – the day after she finally acknowledged the incident.
"She's a complete gaslighter," Morrison told Fox News. "It's gobsmacking."
In July 2020, the Cook County Board adopted a symbolic resolution to take funding away from the police, a resolution that traced policing back to "a tool to preserve the institution of slavery in the 1700s, focusing on chasing down runaway slaves and shutting down slave revolts."
"I’m for reducing and redirecting our investment in law enforcement," Preckwinkle told reporters after the board approved the resolution. "Systemic racism continues to plague our communities. We’re overpoliced, and there’s a disproportionate number of Black deaths at the hands of the police."
"Although she wants to defund the police, the president’s protective detail has only grown in size," Morrison noted. He faulted her for "hypocrisy."
Morrison claimed that there is a "massive rift" between the Sheriff's Office and Preckwinkle, and that the board president "siloed" her protective detail from other law enforcement offices.
He suggested that Preckwinkle may have covered up the incident because it is inconvenient for her political narrative.
"You have to believe either that there are no policies in place to report the use of force, or that you made the wanton intentional decision not to report it," Morrison told Fox News.
He said he had asked Preckwinkle's office and other departments about the incident, and they responded that the incident is "under investigation so I can't talk about it."
Preckwinkle did not respond to multiple requests for comment by press time.
Morrison noted that Preckwinkle was framing herself as "a victim," while ignoring how her policies have imperiled the true victims of Chicago's crime spike.
During a Tuesday board meeting focused on whether or not Columbus Day should become Indigenous People's Day, Morrison lamented the board's lack of focus on the violence in Chicago. "As of today, we have 627 people killed in Chicago, 3,634 people shot in Chicago, 261 children shot, 41 of them dead — 17 and under," he noted.
Morrison told Fox News that the violence traces back to Preckwinkle's defunding efforts, among other things. He noted that the areas impacted by "inadequate funds" for police are "overwhelmingly communities of color."
"Their initiatives are hurting the very people whom they purport to be helping," Morrison lamented.
CWBChicago also reported that a July armed robbery in which a member of Preckwinkle's security detail had his gun stolen was "covered up."