By Hayley Miller, huffingtonpost.com
Despite President Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of Chicago’s rising homicide rate, the city’s police department says multiple requests for federal assistance have gone unanswered so far.
The city’s superintendent of police, Eddie Johnson, called out the White House and Department of Justice on Thursday after Trump tweeted “Chicago needs help” in light of several fatal shootings.
Johnson said violence in some Chicago neighborhoods was “unacceptable” but Trump’s administration had yet to provide support.
“We’ve made requests to the White House and the Justice Department for them to support our work — from increasing federal gun prosecution to more FBI, DEA and ATF agents to more funding for mentoring, job training and more,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are still waiting for the administration’s response to our request.”
Seven people shot and killed yesterday in Chicago. What is going on there – totally out of control. Chicago needs help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017
Trump brought up Chicago again Thursday during his keynote address at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, but failed to mention what specific federal resources he would make available to the city’s police.
“I’m also working with the Department of Justice to begin reducing violent crime,” Trump told the crowd. “I mean, can you believe what’s happening in Chicago, as an example? Two days ago, seven people were shot, and I believe killed. … We will support the incredible men and women of law enforcement.”
A few minutes later, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blasted Trump for tweeting about Chicago instead of taking action.
Yet again, I urge the Pres to stop tweeting&provide critical fed resources for econ development, mentoring&jobs to address Chicago violence https://t.co/YivjoX2Yjk
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) February 24, 2017
Trump tweeted last month that he would “send in the feds” if Chicago didn’t “fix the horrible ‘carnage.’” The city’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, responded by saying he would welcome the help.
“Send more FBI, DEA, ATF agents,” Emanuel said during a news conference earlier this month. “We don’t have to talk about it anymore. Just send them.”
As crime continues to drop across most of the country, 2016 was Chicago’s deadliest year in nearly two decades. The city’s murder rate is now higher than those of Los Angeles and New York combined. Police officials point to gang-related shootings and ease of access to illegal firearms as the main culprits behind Chicago’s homicide problem.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment regarding Trump’s plan to reduce violence in Chicago.