UPDATED 1:56 PM PT – Thursday, December 23, 2021
Two Democrat lawmakers were recently carjacked within 16 hours of each other.
Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa.) was robbed and carjacked in broad daylight at FDR Park in South Philadelphia on Wednesday. Two gunmen demanded the congresswoman hand over her keys and belongings, which included her government issued ID and cell phone.
The assailants sped off in her car while an accomplice followed in a different vehicle. Police have reportedly arrested five suspects in connection to the carjacking.
Scanlon’s office released a statement after the incident thanking the Philadelphia Police. This was a far cry from a tweet she posted in 2020 which read, “we have seen too many lives and communities devastated by police brutality and racial profiling…action is long overdue.”
Statement from the Office of Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon on today's incident: pic.twitter.com/fomScnWUXo
— Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon (@RepMGS) December 22, 2021
There have reportedly been more than 700 carjackings in Philadelphia this year alone. The incident comes after Illinois State Senate Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford was also carjacked just 16 hours earlier on Tuesday.
Authorities said three masked suspects stole Lightford’s vehicle Tuesday night in a Chicago suburb. Cynthia Boyd witnessed the armed carjacking and called 911 while the trio of gunmen terrorized the senator and her husband.
“They had guns at her. All three of them had a gun and was pointing guns at her and at her husband,” said Boyd. “She was saying, ‘don’t shoot my husband, please don’t shoot my husband. Take whatever you want.’ So, they took her purse and they took the car, and everything that was in the car and they took off.”
Witnesses said a barrage of gunshots rang out in the suburban neighborhood, but Lightford and her husband were not physically injured. The carjacking comes amid a surge in violent crimes in the Windy City, where Lightford has pushed the “defund the police” movement.
Both Lightford and Scanlon have supported police reform measures, with Lightford previously proposing $59 million in budget cuts. Both Democrat lawmakers co-sponsored bills in their respective offices that called for mental health specialists to be dispatched instead of police to some incidents.
Scanlon co-sponsored the so-called “Mental Health Justice Act” in Congress in February. Critics of the measure say it merely makes it easier for progressive lawmakers to defund the police by funding mental heath services and authorizing them to respond to emergencies instead of armed officers.