ILLINOIS — All eyes are on Chicago as leaders from across the country and within the hardest hit communities put forward ideas to find solutions to violence in the city.
And as President Donald Trump and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot go back and forth over increased violence in the Windy City, the city’s top cop is providing short term and long term solutions.
Sixteen people were killed over the weekend in Chicago, including a one-year-old. That comes after a violent Father’s Day weekend when more than 100 people were shot and 15 killed including a three-year-old child.
Trump sent Lightfoot and Gov. J.B. Pritzker a letter on Friday about the violence.
“The American people (hardworking taxpayers) send you millions of dollars in federal funding each year to support public safety in Chicago,” Trump wrote. “In the absence of any modicum of leadership, however, these substantial sums of taxpayer money are not being turned into results, and the safety of your most vulnerable communities continues to deteriorate. These funds are in addition to those collected through your combined insatiable appetite to tax the people of Illinois and Chicago.”
Lightfoot said on social media that she does not “need leadership lessons from Donald Trump.”
“[Trump is] using the victims of gun violence in our city to score cheap political points, spew racist rhetoric, and ignore the impact of COVID across this country,” she posted on Twitter.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown Monday said he didn’t have time to take part in political banter. He said in his eight weeks on the job what he sees as being a problem are the lax measures allowing certain arrests to walk free, such as gun offenses or open-air drug market arrests.
“These two types of arrests are the precursors to violence in Chicago,” Brown said. “And right now there are zero consequences to those arrests.”
Brown said what police are seeing is drug dealers using young children without other opportunities to sell drugs on street corners. Young people are also being used to carry out gun violence against others.
Brown said more investment is needed to foster opportunity in some of the city’s neighborhoods. He said it is a long-term goal. Changing policy to hold people longer for certain crimes is a short-term aim.
“This is an immediate impact, this is right-now solutions for these young people that we’re having to arrest to have some semblance of law and order,” Brown said.
He said he’s continuing to push that message to local prosecutors and judges that people arrested for such crimes should be held longer.
Englewood neighborhood business owners joined together over the weekend to offer up a reward of at least $25,000. Christopher Scott said the reward could even go to the shooter.
“Just turn yourself in,” Scott said. “We’re going to give you some money for legal fees. We’re going to make sure before you go to that police station, you are in shape, your health is good so that nothing, say, is going to happen to you.”
That on top of the president raising the issue to national significance has Nadra Enzi with Project 21 hopeful solutions will be found.
“We have the president in D.C. extending his hand, and it’s a mighty one, and then you have residents in the community, the most affected community doing the same thing, this could be a win-win for everybody,” Enzi said.
Trump offered to drop partisanship and partner with leaders in Chicago and Illinois to bring opportunity to the area.
“But to succeed, you must establish law and order,” Trump wrote. “The combination of crime, high state and local taxes, and onerous state and local government regulations have caused thousands of Illinoisans to flee to other States.”
Enzi said it’s important to unite.
“This is an American problem,” Enzi said. “These are Americans dying. These are Americans doing the shooting. We have to unite to stop it.”
The Center Square – Greg Bishop