Ald. Ray Lopez ( 15th ) is under guard from Chicago police after receiving threats following gang shootings throughout his ward the weekend of May 6-7, according to reports. Lopez is one of the five members of the City Council's LGBT Caucus and an outspoken opponent of gang activity.
Lopez angered some with public comments about the shootings, but on May 9 he told Chicago Sun-Times he stood by those remarks.
"It's something we will have to contend with," Lopez said. "But it pales in comparison to what my residents deal with on a daily basis. Their lives are threatened every day."
Eleven persons were shot, three fatally, in Lopez's ward over the weekend. Two CPD officers were shot there the previous week.
Several members of the Satan's Disciples gang gathered for a memorial late May 8 to pay tribute to a member killed earlier that day. Members of a rival gang, whom police said is the Latin Saints, shot at the gathering, wounding eight and killing two.
On May 7, Lopez told reporters that he was grateful "no innocent lives had been lost" in the shootings, a comment many regarded as a veiled swipe at the Satan's Disciples.
Lopez was interrupted by two women who said they were related to two of the shooting victims at a May 8 rally at the shooting site at 46th Street and Rockwell Place.
"They're not animals," one woman shouted. "They were people. They mattered and you're talking about them like shit."
Some remarks directed towards Lopez and his husband, Hugo Lopez, have been of a homophobic nature. A woman at the rally referred to Hugo as a "faggot" in a video that Hugo captured of the incident. Another individual posted on Facebook: "We seriously need that fagget out 15th ward #Raymond Lopez" [sic].
Lopez showed up a City Council Zoning Committee meeting May 9 without a guard, but his home and office remain under close watch, according to Chicago Sun-Times.
Chicago Sun-Times' article is at bit.ly/2q1hnFw .
Lopez later said that "overall the reaction has been positive" to his remarks, adding that many in the community had been in touch with his office about problem locations and activity. "That is exactly what we wanted people to do," he added.
Chicagoans should not be afraid to contact authorities about local gang activity, since they often have a better knowledge of their neighborhood than police, according to Lopez.
"It's better to speak out and err on the side of repetition than just assume that police know something," he said.