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Billionaire gives $10M to CPD

Hefty donation comes as top cop pledges to review all police shootings

Crusader Staff Report

Illinois’ richest man is donating $10 million to the Chicago Police Department, hoping the gift will help reduce gun violence in the city.

Chicago billionaire Ken Griffin on Tuesday, April 10 attended a press conference where Mayor Rahm Emanuel made the announcement.

That same day Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he would review thousands of police shootings and examine each instance where an officer used force to subdue suspects.

The developments aim to boost the image and trust of a beleaguered department that has been in the national spotlight in the past several years because of accusations of police brutality, and its inability to reduce gun-violence and senseless shootings on the city’s streets.

Last year, Chicago’s five major sports teams-Bears, Bulls, Blackhawks, Cubs and White Sox- pledged a total of $1 million to fund violence prevention programs in the city.

Photo 9
Photo credit- Brooke Collins/City of Chicago

Now Griffin, a Republican and Governor Bruce Rauner’s biggest contributor, wants to help. A founder and CEO of Citadel, a Chicago hedge fund, Griffin said he wants to inspire other civic leaders to help “make the city safer.”

“As a community, we are unified in our desire for Chicago to be a safer place to live and work,” Griffin said. “No child anywhere should be afraid to walk to school or play outside. A safer Chicago attracts more families and better jobs and provides a better quality of life for all.”

According to Forbes, he’s worth $8 billion. Last year, he donated $125 million for scholarships and research in the economics department at the University of Chicago. He gave $12 million to the city in 2016 to complete the bike and pedestrian paths on the 18-mile lakefront trail on the North Side, and another $3 million to build soccer fields across Chicago.

The majority of Griffin’s $10 million donation to CPD will go to “Strategic Decision Support Centers,” a joint initiative between CPD and the University of Chicago. The centers are located in high-crime districts. The $1.5 million centers are rooms inside police districts, where University of Chicago analysts use crime data to determine where to deploy officers.

The project serves to help Superintendent Johnson, who has been under fire since he took over the department in 2016. More than one week after drawing heavy criticism by not firing officer Robert Rialmo for killing two Blacks in 2016 in a shooting that a police review agency ruled “unjustified,” Johnson announced that his department will review all police shootings in which an officer used force to subdue the suspect.

Johnson made the announcement during a recent 45-minute speech at the City Club of Chicago.

Johnson said the examinations won’t lead to additional discipline for officers, but the nearly 13,000-member force will receive “force mitigation training” by the end of 2018.

“What we can do is look at each of those incidents internally and see if there’s training issues, or just tactical issues that we can do better,” Johnson said.

According to Chicago Police Department, as of April 8, the city has had 116 murders, and 462 shootings so far this year. Last year at this time, there were 156 murders and 615 shootings.

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