CHICAGO – Chicago's police superintendent said Monday that he plans to flood the city's streets with additional officers during the long July 4 weekend in an effort to avoid a repeat of particularly bloody recent weekends and despite pressure to keep officer overtime to a minimum.
“We didn't do it last weekend and the Memorial Day weekend,” Superintendent David Brown said of the two weekends that ended with a combined total of 111 people being shot, 24 fatally. “This weekend ... we'll have an additional 1,200 cops every day from Thursday through Sunday.”
Brown took over as superintendent during the coronavirus pandemic, when there was a furious effort to release as many jail detainees as possible to keep them from contracting the virus. The number of Cook County Jail inmates decreased by more than 1,600 between May 1 and June 1. But on Monday, Brown vowed to push others in the criminal justice system to keep those arrested on drug and gun charges locked up longer.
“We're pleading (with the court system) to keep them in jail for the weekend,” he said, explaining that the people arrested for dealing or buying drugs on street corners may not be charged with violent crimes, but that such activity often leads to gun fights between violent gangs.
As his predecessors did when talking about a bloody weekend, Brown said the most recent spasm of gunfire ended not just with the deaths of rival gang members but with the killing of children. This time the innocent victims included a 1-year-old riding in a car with his mother and a 10-year-old girl who was inside her home when a bullet fired a block away pierced a window and struck her in the head as she sat on a couch.
Brown also alluded to the reality of life in some neighborhoods where residents have been reluctant to come forward with information that might help detectives solve violent crimes because they don’t trust the police.
“For God's sake, for the sake of Chicago's children, please help us bring these murderers to justice,” Brown said, referring the gunmen as “evil bastards.”
“Silence empowers those who continue to terrorize our neighborhoods,"he said.