After more than 70 people were shot, 12 fatally, during one of the most violent weekends in recent Chicago history, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson are once again under pressure to contain the violence.
The immediate response has been to deploy hundreds of additional police offers to communities most plagued by gun violence.
Johnson announced Tuesday that some 600 additional officers would be deployed to five police districts on the South and West Sides during weekends. But at a news conference Monday, he expressed frustration that the police department is blamed for not stopping the violence while those who perpetrate it are not held accountable in the same way.
“It’s the same individuals that continuously commit these crimes,” Johnson said. “Where’s the accountability for them?”
At the same press conference Monday, Emanuel complained that detectives are not getting enough help from people in communities where most violent crimes occur.
“The offender in almost every situation is known by somebody,” he said. “They have a moral responsibility to speak up.”
But community activists argue that a lack of trust in the police department and a fear of potential retaliation discourages people from reporting what they know about the violence and killings.
“I’m not naive to the fractured relationships that CPD has in some communities – I’m a black man who grew up in this city and raised a family in this city and I’ve been a police officer for 30 years,” Johnson said Thursday on “Chicago Tonight.” “I’m acutely aware of that fractured relationship and that’s why we are working so hard to rebuild it in some areas and regain it in some areas. The community isn’t responsible for individuals that pull the trigger, that individual that pulls the trigger is responsible for that. But at the end of the day police officers very seldom witness the incident so we need community members to help us with that information.”