Mayoral candidate Bob Fioretti on Monday cranked up the rhetoric in Chicago’s mayoral contest, saying that Mayor Rahm Emanuel “failed us again” by not filing any charges in the assault on the mayor’s own teenage son.
“It sends the wrong signal,” Fioretti said, comparing the mayor’s actions in the robbery case to the general problem of community members afraid to give police information to help solve crimes.
Fioretti made the comments following his appearance before the City Club of Chicago, where he read from prepared remarks about his vision for the city.
In a question-and-answer session with reporters, however, Fioretti let loose on the mayor and chided other opponents for coming late to the party on backing elected school boards and recognizing the city’s crime problem.
Fioretti brought Emanuel’s 17-year-old son into the picture when talking about Chicago crime, accusing Emanuel of not pursuing charges against the suspects in the December attack, which happened on Emanuel’s block.
But it was unclear to what Fioretti was referring. Police investigating the case had questioned a person of interest who purchased the phone that Zach Emanuel reported stolen, but there had not been any arrests.
“This mayor, where has he been? I mean for God sakes, you’ve got a CVS that gets a burglary a couple blocks down. You’ve got your own family member, and you don’t want to prosecute charges? What did we just send a signal about? What did we just do by doing that? When your kid gets a tooth almost knocked out? When your kid is out, just maybe whatever he was doing at 10 o’clock at night on the phone and had to leave the house,” Fioretti said. “What message does that send to every community about let’s not snitch, when they’re saying you gotta take an active role in our communities. Mr. Mayor, you failed us again.”
Emanuel’s camp characterized Fioretti’s broadside as a desperate move.
“It’s sad that Bob Fioretti’s campaign has come to this, and it doesn’t warrant a response,” a statement from Emanuel’s campaign read.
Fioretti, alderman for the city’s 2nd Ward, also lobbed criticism at Emanuel for having raised $30 million, saying that if it were himself who had that much money, the race would be over. He also took aim at Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, without using his name, complaining that Garcia didn’t support elected school boards until he was asked to run by the Chicago Teachers Union. The CTU had endorsed Garcia over Fioretti in the race, even though Fioretti said he has the progressive bona fides.
“Where in the hell have they been? Really. Any of them. I don’t remember any of them being there when we’ve had the deal with the school closings,” Fioretti complained. “When we talk about crime and everyone’s saying, oh wow, where’s everybody been?”
Garcia’s campaign declined comment.
Earlier this month, Emanuel said his son was on the phone with his college counselor during the December incident when two men, both 18 to 20 years old, reportedly approached Zach Emanuel from behind on a sidewalk in the 4200 block of North Hermitage.
A suspect described as 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11 and weighing between 160 and 165 pounds “placed his arm around the victim’s neck in a rear chokehold” when a second suspect described as 5-foot-10 to 5-foot-11 “stuck the victim about the face with a closed fist, knocking the victim to the ground,” according to the police report.
After taking the phone, the suspects “then asked the victim ‘What else you got?’” before running south on Hermitage.
“Now, let’s see. You’re on your way for a vacation. Your kid leaves the house whatever time it was to make a phone call to talk to his college counselor, and then he gets attacked? And then, with all the resources that you have around the house more than any other citizen, to make your block a safe block.
“And he gets attacked, gets a tooth pretty well injured. I don’t know how quick they got to the dentist before they boarded that plane,” Fioretti said. “And then you catch the people and then you say: ‘Well, we’re not going to prosecute it.’ Isn’t that the same thing that we hear the folks in: ‘let’s make sure you start telling about what crime is happening, who committed the crime?’ What did they do? They left. It sends the wrong signal.”
Pressed on whether he was questioning Zach Emanuel’s account of the events, Fioretti walked back some of his comments, saying he wasn’t privy to inside details of the investigation.
The Chicago Sun-Times earlier this month published a copy of the police report. Read it here: Police Report.