After Rahm Emanuel criticized their recent patrolling in the tourist-friendly Magnificent Mile shopping district, Chicago's Guardian Angels lashed out Thursday against the mayor, saying they will continue to do their part to protect the city's streets as they see fit, as they have for over three decades.
On Wednesday, after the Guardian Angels dubbed Michigan Avenue "Muggers' Mile" on the heels of a series of recent muggings, Emanuel said in a press conference that the volunteer anti-crime patrol group's efforts would be better put to use along the city's safe-passage routes for CPS students.
"I think the Guardian Angels are interested in safety and security," the mayor said, according to NBC Chicago. "There's a lot of areas in the city where they can work in partnership" [with police]. There's gonna be a lot of safe-passage routes for kids. Come work those."
"Do something that's helpful with that effort, and I'm sure people will work with you on that on the community level," Emanuel continued, DNAinfo Chicago reports.
The red beret-clad Guardian Angels were taken aback by the mayor's comments, noting they already do most of their patrolling in the city's neighborhoods. The group says a tip from them led to a man being arrested in a Ukrainian Village sexual assault earlier this month. Last May, four members of the Guardian Angels were stabbed while intervening in an armed robbery at a CTA Red Line train platform on the Near North Side.
"Safe Passage was something the mayor created when he closed the schools," Guardian Angels leader Miguel Fuentes told CBS Chicago. "I think it’s unfair to throw the Guardian Angels into something that he created, and at the same time I’m not sure if the mayor wants to tell the families of the kids who are traveling back and forth that these Safe Passages are going to require Guardian Angels’ presence."
Fuentes went on to invite Emanuel to join them for one of their patrols to get a better impression of the work they do. Fuentes told DNAinfo Chicago he has yet to hear a response to that invitation from the mayor's office.