Chicago Mayor Lightfoot refusing to pay speeding, red light tickets as they pile up: report

Mayor Lightfoot has been a vocal proponent of stricter speed cameras

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Multiple police-driven vehicles used to transport Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have reportedly racked up multiple traffic tickets that have gone unpaid despite the mayor's advocacy for stricter speed cameras in the city. The mayor's office responded to the report in a statement Tuesday.

Two of the SUVs used to shuttle Lightfoot throughout Chicago have accumulated three speed camera tickets and two warnings in the past month. The tickets have so far gone unpaid, CWB Chicago reported on Monday.

Additionally, CWB Chicago reported that one of the SUVs in the mayor’s fleet has a red light ticket that has not been paid and two SUVs that were previously assigned to Lightfoot’s security detail have outstanding speed and red light tickets.

One of those SUVs is eligible to be booted and impounded over the lack of payment.

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Mayor Lori Lightfoot, shown at City Hall on April 15, 2021.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, shown at City Hall on April 15, 2021. (Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

Two of the speed violations committed by Lightfoot’s SUVs reportedly occurred in school zones and the citations stated that school children were present. 

Since taking office, Lightfoot supported a push to lower the "buffer zone" threshold that speed cameras allow before issuing a citation from 10 mph to 6 mph, arguing that it will make roads safer.

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Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a science initiative event at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. July 23, 2020. 

Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks during a science initiative event at the University of Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. July 23, 2020.  (REUTERS/Kamil Krzaczynski)

"No one likes speed cameras. I get it," Lightfoot was quoted last month. "But this is life or death that we’re talking about here, and we’ve got to step up as a city and address this."

Lightfoot also pointed out the potential dangers to kids despite being ticketed for speeding through a school zone with her own security detail.

"It is unconscionable that any City Council member would consider voting to allow for increased speeds near spaces utilized by our children," Lightfoot said.

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On Tuesday afternoon, Lightfoot's office released a statement that pointed to the need for her security detail to stay "in formation" while traveling to various events.

"Members of the Mayor’s Detail are trained in a variety of safety and security techniques to keep the Mayor safe and that includes both vehicles staying in formation while en route," the statement said. "The Mayor has repeatedly stressed to the Detail traffic safety and that running red lights is never acceptable. Like with all citations incurred by City or other safety and security vehicles by other agencies, they go through an administrative process to review if City vehicles were in use for safety or security reasons and subsequently the Department of Finance will determine whether the party is responsible."

Lightfoot's office added that payment is not collected until "that process is concluded" and that "individual members" of the security detail are "responsible for payment of tickets incurred while they are driving."

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot continued to defend her controversial decision to only speak with non-White reporters. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot continued to defend her controversial decision to only speak with non-White reporters.  (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

In 2020, Chicago Tribune reported that the city of Chicago dismissed the majority of tickets that were issued to Lightfoot's security team, which included tickets given at times the mayor was attending non-city related events.

The Illinois Policy Institute, a libertarian think tank, found that Chicago has issued 3.8 million speeding tickets, generating almost $80 million in revenue to the city since Lightfoot lowered the threshold last year. 

The Chicago City Council struck down a measure to repeal the lowered speed camera threshold last week in a vote that Lightfoot supported.

WLS-TV reported that 84% of all speed camera tickets issued were given to drivers driving between 6 and 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.