Chicago Police Supt. David Brown once again called on other criminal justice entities to provide CPD “a little help” to combat gun violence after a weekend in which more than 100 people were killed and several children killed.
Brown said the city’s violence was largely fueled by violent criminals who were released from jail too soon.
“At the end of the day, our endgame strategy is to arrest violent criminals, but if violent criminals are released from prison, we need cooperation and collaboration with other partners within the criminal justice system,” said Brown.
Brown’s predecessor, Eddie Johnson, made the same request countless times during his 3 1/2 years at the helm of the CPD.
When asked for details about what caused the bloodshed over the weekend, Brown said: “Gangs, weapons and drugs and not enough time in jail for violent criminals.”
When 10 people were killed and 39 others were shot over Memorial Day weekend, Mayor Lori Lightfoot condemned the “bloodbath” and called it “failure” by her newly appointed police superintendent.
On Monday, Lightfoot was asked what he would call a Father’s Day weekend that ended with 14 homicides that included 3- and 13-year-olds.
The mayor never answered the question directly. Instead, he spoke about the parts of the criminal justice “ecosystem” that were left out during the coronavirus pandemic that are not yet fully online.
“We still have some concerns from the county about how many people can safely be in the Cook County Jail. We are still concerned about bond decisions. Our federal partners are not yet back in the full plugin. I don’t think the grand juries have been summoned again. And many federal agents have yet to get back to doing the work they normally do, “Lightfoot said.
Lightfoot said he plans to convene a meeting later this week with each of the stakeholders, including the state attorney’s office and the criminal courts, to “discuss the things each of us can do to escalate the violence that we saw this weekend. ” “
The violence of the weekend was felt throughout the city, although it was also concentrated. Of the 22 CPD districts, 19 of them recorded at least one shooting. However, nearly half of the violence over the weekend was seen in just three West Side districts: Harrison, Ogden, and Austin districts. Combined, the three saw 43 people shot, with seven of them killed, including a 3-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl.
With additional scrutiny paid to law enforcement following the death of George Floyd, some officers are taking a less practical approach. Lightfoot’s public statements about Chicago police officers accused of misconduct have also made their duties more reluctant.
“You don’t want the news to start the next wildfire here,” said a veteran CPD officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
John Catanzara, the president of the Fraternal Police Order, the union that represents base officers, said: “There is going to be a question with the mayor basically asking that every little thing be fireproof, but I don’t. I don’t know if one is necessarily associated with the other in terms of violence this weekend. “
“I mean, it’s Chicago,” added Catanzara. “This is typical. It’s sad but true. It is typical. This is summer violence. “
CPD officers have been assigned to work 12 hours a day for much of the past three weeks in response to the Floyd-related protests and looting. Many have stayed on that schedule as summer comes, historically the most violent part of the year in Chicago.
“We want to assure them that we appreciate the hard work they are doing and the sacrifices they have been making,” said Anthony Riccio, CPD’s first deputy superintendent. “They have been under a lot of stress and there has been a lot of attention [paid] to some incidents that happened, but the overwhelming majority of these officers have worked hard and done a tremendous job. “
Shortly after taking office, Brown told his deputies that he wanted to stop the Chicago killings for less than 300 a year for the first time since 1957.
Chicago is now close to 300 homicides before the end of June. On Monday, Lightfoot was asked what went wrong.
“Look, I think what the superintendent said when he had this ambitious idea of 300, he called it a ‘shot to the moon’. And the idea was, not so much the number, but to make sure we put together all the resources, both within the Department Police as with our various partners, to really focus on what each of us can do more around public safety, “said the mayor.
When asked if he retains confidence in Brown, Lightfoot said he “can’t even believe anyone asking” that question after the retired Dallas Police Chief has been on the job for just eight weeks.