Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown blasted the city’s judges and prosecutors Tuesday, at a press conference discussing the city’s bloody Fourth of July weekend, which saw record-breaking gun violence with more than 100 people shot, and at least 18 people killed.
Like other cities, Chicago is experiencing a spike in gun crime, but unlike other cities, Chicago saw more shootings over the Independence Day weekend than it did during the same holiday weekend last year. Brown, on Tuesday, said that the Chicago Police Department is stretched to the limit and blamed the city’s judicial system for turning violent offenders back out onto the street for the shocking rise in crime.
There are too many violent offenders and too little consequence in our courts. There are too many illegal guns in our city and too little consequences in the courts,” Brown said, per Fox News. “The brave men and women of this police department here in Chicago…They risked – literally risked life and limb over this weekend for [what] was an extremely challenging weekend in this country for American police.”
Brown detailed the weekend’s wounded, which included two police officers and 11 children, and pinned the blame squarely on the city’s judges and prosecutors.
“The courts have created an unsafe environment for large crowd gatherings because you’ve released people charged with murder back into these same communities where they committed this heinous crime,” Brown said. “These are people charged with murder where the state’s attorney accepted the charges. And the courts, the courts released them back into the community, creating an unsafe environment for all of us in the crowd when retaliation occurs, when street justice occurs.”
“The fact that over 90 people charged with murder have been released by our courts, back into the community does two things,” Brown continued “Number one, it creates this idea of lawlessness for people in the community who know someone murdered someone, and yet there they see him again, the following days as if nothing happened. Secondly, because these people murdered someone, the victim and their associates retaliate indiscriminately of where they are. So whether in a car with their kids, whether they’re in a large crowd or gathering, they are the targets for retaliation.”
“So, when you ask the question whether or not our work is effective, Chicago police officers are doing their job by arresting people and charging them with murder. That’s doing our part. And what’s happening in the courts is creating this unsafe environment for all of us,” Brown concluded.
As Fox News noted, over the weekend Chicago crossed 2,000 people shot. “As of Monday, 1,613 shootings had been reported so far this year, with 2,020 shooting victims, police said. There have been 363 murders.”
The Cook County States Attorney, Kim Foxx, and the city’s Chief Judge fired back at Brown. Foxx called the speech, “finger-pointing,” and Chief Judge Timothy Evans called the statement “speculation,” and defended low bond and electronic monitoring in place of keeping offenders in jail pending a hearing as a form of social justice.
“Finger-pointing instead of talking honestly about the violence plaguing our city doesn’t help bring solutions that make our communities safer,” Foxx fired back at Brown.
“Looking at individual tragic cases in isolation may contribute to the speculation that releasing individuals before trial rather than incarcerating them — whether by placing them on Electronic Monitoring (EM) or other forms of supervision — means an increase in crime,” Evans said in a statement to the Associated Press.
“Research has shown that bail reform has not led to an increase in crime,” he insisted, and it is “based on the constitutional principle [that the accused] should not be imprisonment before they are tried unless they pose a significant danger to the community.”
Although hard numbers on the issue are scarce, CWB Chicago reported earlier in 2020 that at “least 32 people charged with murder in Chicago last year were free on bail at the time of the killings.”
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