The Crusader Newspaper Group

Trump threatens federal intervention in Chicago

Crusader Staff report

With 2017 off to an even deadlier start than 2016, on Tuesday, President Donald Trump threatened federal intervention if the city doesn’t get tougher on shootings and murders that continue to rock neighborhoods on the South and West Side of Chicago.

After news reports concerning Chicago’s latest shooting statistics surfaced, Trump tweeted Tuesday night that he will “send in the Feds!” if the city “doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on.”

Civil rights leader Rev. Jesse L. Jackson tweeted in response saying, “We need a plan, not a threat. We need jobs, not jails.”

In a recent interview on WTTW-Ch. 11, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said federal agencies, including the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, already help the city, but more could be done.

While Trump’s latest threat has drawn criticism and added pressure for Chicago Police Department Superintendent Eddie Johnson, Chicago has once again been placed in the national spotlight as shootings climb along with the mild winter weather,

Since campaigning for the White House, Trump has been an outspoken critic of crime in Chicago, but his latest threat may inflame tensions in a city where anger and distrust of the Chicago Police Department have intensified since the video of the 2014 brutal killing of Laquan McDonald by a Chicago policeman was released in 2015.

The threat is the latest chapter of souring relations between Trump and a city that has opposed the billionaire’s controversial views since he ran for the nation’s highest office.

Trump’s tweet of “228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016)” referred to the latest data compiled by the Chicago Tribune.

While Trump may threaten Chicago with federal intervention, a 139-year-old federal law known as the Posse Comitatus Act prohibits deployment of federal troops in civil law enforcement.

The recent threat echoes Trump’s past messages about crime and gun violence that he says are destroying inner cities throughout the country. During his inaugural address on Jan. 20, Trump said that crime, gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of much unrealized potential. “This American carnage stops right here and right now.”

In a television interview in September, Trump said that Chicago “is out of control” and that police officers should use “stop-and-frisk” tactics to reduce the violence. He went on to say “stop-and-frisk tactics worked incredibly well in New York.” However, a federal judge ruled the practice unconstitutional and said the practice violated the 4th Amendment prohibiting unreasonable searches.

In 2014, “stop-and-frisk” tactics were used in Chicago. Police records show 250,000 people were stopped and searched without a reason. The Chicago Police Department ended the practice after the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit, claiming “stop-and-frisk” tactics were unconstitutional.

Under a legal agreement with the ACLU, a new Chicago Police Department order required supervisors to review contact cards and to correct officers who failed to give legal justification for stops. The agreement caused an 84 percent drop in street stops.


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