Last March, the city of Chicago began to implement a series of “reforms” that are supposed to make the city safer — or, at least, safer for thugs and gangbangers.
As for the rest of Chicago residents, not so much.
At least 50 people were shot across Chicago over the weekend, the most violent of the year with a toll even higher than the long Memorial Day holiday just a week earlier.
More than half the victims were wounded during a 12-hour burst of gunfire from Friday evening to Saturday morning. At least four of the 31 people shot during that time died following attacks on the West and South Sides. By the time the weekend ended, at least 10 people were dead, according to the Chicago Police Department.
At the time, then-Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office touted the court ordered reforms as putting the city on “the pathway to success.”
“We’re not doing reform TO police officers but WITH police officers, with community,” said Walter Katz, deputy chief of staff for public safety in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office. “I think when you take that approach of being inclusive both with community and officers you’re on a pathway to success.”
Here’s what “success” looks like — Chicago style:
The level of violence eclipsed the three-day Memorial Day weekend when at least 43 people were shot, 7 of them fatally. Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has scheduled a news conference for 9:30 a.m. Monday to “discuss weekend violence and enforcement initiatives.”
In a statement Sunday night, the department’s chief spokesman said Johnson ordered “targeted patrols” in areas of potential retaliation by gangs. “Those efforts have resulted in 19 arrests on gun-related charges and 81 illegal weapons seized since Friday evening,” Anthony Guglielmi said. “Several people of interest are also being questioned in relation to some of our incidents and detectives have good video leads in others.”
It would be stupid to place the entire blame for the spasms of violence over the last couple of weekends on the reform plan. It’s only been a few months since the plan went into effect and many of the reforms are being gradually implemented over the next five years.
But the upshot from citizen’s groups like Black Lives Matter and the ACLU, who had significant input into the plan, is that it didn’t go far enough. Are they right?
The deal requires the police department to publish use-of-force data monthly and tighten policy on when Tasers may be used. It requires officers to document each time they draw their weapons, changes the rules by which officers are investigated and requires the city to bolster wellness and counseling programs for officers.
Officers are also now required to issue a “verbal warning” before firing, making them sitting ducks in many situations, according to the CPD union representing officers. The union bitterly opposed the plan, fearing it would make it harder for cops to do their jobs and make citizens less safe.
If the last two weekends are any indication, the union appears to be right.