An Illinois mayor told Fox News on Monday that the state’s new Safety, Accountability, Fairness and Equity-Today (SAFE-T) Act, set to go into effect in a few months, is the “most dangerous law” he has ever seen.
Orland Park Mayor Keith Pekau is running for Congress in Illinois’ 6th District and has been vocal about his opposition to the radical new act. According to Pekau, the law essentially overhauls the state’s current criminal justice system, and he fears that it could cause crime in Illinois to “spiral out of control.”
“We create potential anarchy because law enforcement can’t do their job and then people feel that they have to do that job,” he said. “People aren’t trained in the use of force. They’re not trained to de-escalate situations.”
The SAFE-T Act includes provisions to end cash bail for most offenses and limits how defendants are determined to be flight risks. It also allows offenders placed under electronic monitoring to be in violation for 48 hours before they can be charged.
Proponents of the bill argued that it would create a more equitable criminal justice system in Illinois and combat systemic racism.
“It was passed in the middle of the night, with 40 minutes to read an 800-page bill, which is unacceptable,” Pekau said in September.
“It abolishes cash bail for almost every offense. This includes — but isn’t limited to — kidnapping, armed robbery, second-degree murder, drug-induced homicide, aggravated DUI, threatening a public official, and aggravated fleeing and eluding,” he continued.
The Illinois mayor explained that the new law would drop trespassing from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class B. Pekau stated that law enforcement would no longer be able to physically remove a trespasser.
“Now they can’t arrest, they can only write a ticket,” he said. “So, they get to stay in that business, on your property, at your house, etc.”
Pekau argued that the bill is “just a potpourri of everything” that failed to consider “law enforcement, judges or all the stakeholders in place.” The mayor stated that the new law would allow criminals back on the streets.
The law was signed last year by Governor J.B. Pritzker, and it will go into effect on January 1, 2023.
The congressional candidate said he hopes Illinois voters will cast their ballots to remove the governor and the state legislators who supported the extreme bill.
“I don’t think we know what’s coming from this,” Pekau told Fox News. “I think we can project that if criminals are allowed to run free and police officers can’t protect citizens, citizens are going to start protecting themselves and take the law into their own hands.”