This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, April 25, 2016:
The Chicago Tribune announced last week that the number of people shot in Chicago so far this year has exceeded 1,000, a rate not seen since the 1990s.
The Tribune started tracking gun violence in 2012 and reported that that “grim milestone” of 1,000 shootings wasn’t hit until June 9 that year. In 2013, it was hit on June 26; in 2014 it was reached on June 15; last year, it was hit on June 4. This year, that grisly number was hit between six and nine weeks earlier.
Police officials, according to the Tribune, blamed it on“the easy availability of guns, an intractable gang problem, and conflicts sparked by social media.” Nothing was mentioned about corruption in the Chicago Police Department or Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration. Nor was anything said about the ongoing “McDonald effect” that is forcing police officers to hunker down and hide behind new paperwork rather than enter the high crime, gang-ridden areas of South- and West-side Chicago.
As reported by The New American, by the end of March, 727 people had been shot, with 141 of them dying of their wounds. Those numbers, in just the last three weeks, have jumped to 1,008 shot and 172 dead. Unless reined in somehow, more than 3,000 Chicagoans are likely to have been shot by the end of the year, with potentially more than 500 of them dying as a result.
The Chicago police know not only where the murders are taking place, they know who’s doing the killing. As Chicago’s new interim Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson told the Tribune: “We know who is committing these crimes. It’s a small segment of the population. We have these individuals targeted.”
So if he knows who they are and where they live, why doesn’t Johnson do something about it? Because the exposure of corruption not only in the CPD but in the state attorney general’s office and the mayor’s office has forced cops on the street to consider very carefully just who they stop and why. And they better have a good reason as they complete the “contact cards” now required because of the threat of an ACLU lawsuit and a change in the state law. Said the Tribune, beat cops are “much less aggressive on the street out of fear that doing even basic police work would get them into trouble. [As a result] criminals [are] taking advantage of their passive approach.”
The effect of the new rules showed up in January when CPD officers made 6,818 arrests, just two-thirds of the nearly 10,000 arrests from a year earlier. It showed up especially in “investigatory stops,” which plummeted from 61,330 in January 2015 to just 9,044 in January this year.
Police are not only being intimidated by the much-closer review of their activities on the street, but they are no doubt wondering what further incursions, limitations, and mandates will be coming down once the Department of Justice is done with its investigation into the shooting of Laquan McDonald in October 2014.
Following the revelation that Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke (shown above) shot Laquan McDonald 16 times as he was walking away, and then the further revelation that the dash-cam video of the incident had been deliberately locked up, using the ongoing Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) investigation into the matter as an excuse, it became clear that not only would officers behaving badly no longer be getting a free ride, but that innocent officers just trying to do their jobs would be subject to much higher levels of scrutiny and accountability.
Those revelations cost the State’s Attorney for Cook County, Anita Alvarez, her job as she was defeated in the primary election on March 14. They also forced Rahm Emanuel into a runoff in his reelection campaign for mayor, the first time that has happened in Chicago’s corrupt history.
The corruption is so deep and pervasive that investigative journalist Ben Joravsky has made a living exposing it. Writing last November in the Chicago Leader, Joravsky traced the time line of the McDonald shooting, and Emanuel’s actions subsequent to it:
[CPD Officer Jason] Van Dyke shot McDonald on October 20, 2014 — almost six months before the general election. By February, word had already emerged about the tape of the shooting.
As impossible as this sounds, just imagine if Mayor Emanuel had released the video in, say, November — without being forced to by a lawsuit. Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez probably would have quickly responded with an indictment [against Van Dyke] — just like she did earlier this week when the tape was actually released….
If the mayor had done that, he wouldn’t be the villain in this sordid story. He’d be the hero. Or at least the guy who finally, for once in his life, did the right thing…. But of course, he didn’t do the right thing. He buried the video. He allowed officials to mislead the public. He hid the tapes because most likely he … assumed that it would hurt his reelection campaign.
Thus he not only did the immoral thing, he did the politically stupid thing.
Not only are Chicago police officers suffering under the new rules mandated through agreements with the ACLU, they are forced to undergo sensitivity training taught by radicals representing the criminal element who see the opportunity to further damage CPD officers’ morale. Also suffering are the innocents caught in the crossfire with few means at their disposal to defend themselves thanks to Chicago’s strict anti-gun laws. Unless and until the police are allowed to enforce the law without having to cover their backs, these grisly numbers are likely to continue to climb, passing more “grim milestones” and setting more frightful and unnecessary records.