Reverend Jesse Jackson on Wednesday, December 8, gave strong support to Father Michael Pfleger’s 10-point anti-crime theses where he is asking Mayor Lightfoot, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Governor JB Pritzker to embrace the plan he believes will curb the violence that is overwhelming this city.
“Our community has become sanctuaries for killers,” said Jackson after reading Pfleger’s anti-crime platform. “Nobody has the right to terrorize us.” Jackson said victims and witnesses have a responsibility to turn in the shooters.
On Tuesday, December 7, Pfleger held a press conference and unveiled his 10-point anti-crime agenda a week after a report showing Cook County had surpassed 1,000 homicides for the first time since 1994.
Pfleger said Blacks comprised 81 percent of the homicide victims and Latinos nearly 15 percent.
According to Pfleger, three quarters of those homicides, or 777, have been in Chicago and at least 4,105 people have been shot in Chicago, “while we hear daily reports on COVID-19.” He wonders why the city “was silent about the blood in our streets.”
In looking at an analysis of Chicago Police Department data done by the University of Chicago Crime Lab, Pfleger said the homicide rate among Black Chicagoans is the highest it has ever been. Pfleger is asking city, county and state elected officials to not only take heed of his platform but to implement it.
Here are Pfleger’s demands:
1. SOLVE THE HOMICIDE CASES. A great deterrent to stopping someone from shooting is to know you will be caught. In Chicago, you are likely not to be caught. On November 9, Dennis Zheng was murdered in Hyde Park. The killer was apprehended in 24 hours, and the mayor and police superintendent met with
businesses, community residents and schools. We applaud this response. We just want this to be the norm for all homicides in Chicago, not the exception. Black Lives Matter.
2. Allow residents who are able to testify to do so anonymously. Fear is a great deterrent for people to testify. Research done by Winston and Strawn law firm shows that historically and legally this can happen. We want the State’s Attorney’s Office to begin to implement this as soon as possible.
3. We also want the city to work with the CHA to provide relocation vouchers to people who testify so that they can make use of relocation if necessary.
4. We want safety and protection for witnesses to homicides and a streamlined process for engagement with the investigation and trial process.
5. We demand an increase to detective staffing so they can handle the alarming number of cases. Also, increase resources for Chicago police officers for mental health. The Chicago Police Department has one of the highest suicide rates in the country.
6. We want to assign an Assistant State’s Attorney to homicide divisions in districts or areas with high rates of homicide in the Chicago Police Department, which would allow them to gain knowledge of the areas and develop relationships with patrols, specialized units and detectives.
7. Stop declining prosecution for non-fatal shootings.
8. Develop a cold case task force of federal and state law enforcement agencies focused on solving and bringing charges for past homicide cases.
9. Improve resources for forensic evidence, improve access to state DNA and Ballistics Labs and support for area technology centers, as well as improved resources to analyze cell phones and social media posts.
10. End the tale of two cities. Provide the jobs, mental health counseling, housing, opportunities and access to young brothers and sisters to give them something positive to give their lives to.
“We cannot wonder why people are exiting Chicago, if you have a Black or brown child where you are concerned for their safety and very life, said Pfleger.
“We want the city of Chicago to immediately make violence a top priority. You can’t get a vaccine or booster if you’re not alive,” Pfleger emphasized.