Arab-Americans are accusing Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, a Democrat, of targeting their shops after a brutal murder caught on video at a gas station.
Surveillance video shows a man with a rifle chasing another man on Tuesday before the victim trips and falls on the ground. The gunman shoots him at least five times at point blank range and runs away on foot.
The victim was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The gas station was ordered to be shut down by city officials and an Arab-American organization says it isn’t the first time they have been scapegoated by Lightfoot.
Suhail Assaf, the co-owner of the gas station, told WBBM-TV that they shut down the business for two days to accommodate the police investigation before they were shut down entirely. He also argued that the victim wasn’t even on his property when the assailant chased him into the gas station.
“You have to ask for a hearing and it could take them five days for a hearing,” said Ahmed Mohsin, another co-owner of the gas station. “I have employees that want to come back, I have no answer for them.”
The order shutting down the business blamed the violent offense, but the American-Arab Chamber of Commerce has accused Lightfoot of blaming Arab-owned stores for violence unfairly.
Mohsin said they have put in anti-crime measures but expected more violence.
“Everything from panhandling, loitering. It’s not on our property per say, but it’s in our vicinity. We were worried this would happen eventually,” he added.
The city of Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection said the store had 18 violations related to expired food items being sold and tobacco violations.
A public forum is scheduled where business owners can protest the discrimination they say they’re facing from the mayor’s office.