President Donald Trump vowed Tuesday night in a tweet to send “the feds” to Chicago if the city does not address its longstanding plague of violence.
If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible “carnage” going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
The city’s crime statistics and use of the word “carnage” (which the tweet includes in quotes) were used on “The O’Reilly Factor” on Fox News and appeared on the presidential Twitter feed moments later.
A statement from the Chicago Police Department on Tuesday night said the city’s law enforcement would welcome an interagency effort.
“As the mayor said just a few hours ago, the Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago,” said Chicago police Supt. Eddie Johnson in a statement.
Johnson was referring to comments made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel on WTTW-Ch. 11 earlier in the evening about federal agencies assisting the city.
Anthony Guglielmi, a department spokesperson, said January has seen 39 homicides as of Tuesday night.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson responded to the president’s tweet with one of his own, saying: “We need a plan, not a threat.”
We need a plan, not a threat. We need jobs, not jails. #Chicago
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) January 25, 2017
Emanuel had some pointed words for Trump Monday for debating the crowd size at Friday’s inauguration, saying he should instead focus on jobs and education.
Emanuel was also troubled by the Trump administration’s decision to highlight Chicago’s violent crime statistics on the White House website.
“There were thousands of shootings in Chicago last year alone,” the website reads. “Our country needs more law enforcement, more community engagement and more effective policing.”
The mayor said the answer to the city’s unyielding violence can be found in police training, supervision and pro-active policing. Emanuel spoke against the controversial stop-and-frisk tactics promoted by Trump.
“We need our police to have high professional standards, the training to support them in those high professional standards and the certainty to be proactively involved,” Emanuel said. “If you look at the last year across the country and then say, ‘The only answer is to go to stop-and-frisk. That’s it,’ that’s not where the world is today.”
Rev. Michael Pfleger, a renowned Chicago activist, posted a heated statement on Facebook shortly after Trump’s tweet.
“If it’s federal resources, don’t wait… SEND THEM NOW!” Pfleger wrote. “If he’s talking about federal troops, stop-and-frisk and militarized police, which I believe he is… ABSOLUTELY NOT!”
He added that all Chicago officials, police, business leaders, churches and communities need to “stop this or expect soldiers on our streets.”
January could go down as a record-setting month for shootings and homicides in the city.
Johnson repeated Tuesday his regular rallying cry that tougher gun laws are required. Policy makers need to stop waiting so long to do something, he says.
“The people who can most effect this other than police—I don’t know what they’re waiting for—I really don’t,” he said. “Last year we finished 2016 with more than 700 shootings—if that does not get your attention, then I don’t know what will.”
Following last year’s “unacceptable rise in violence,” the Chicago Police Department announced plans New Year’s Day to quell city violence headed into 2017.
Data made available by the department show 2016 was one of the most violent years in the city since the mid ’90s, with more than 750 murders reported. To combat the rise in violence, police aim to tailor response to different neighborhoods and crack down on repeat violent offenders.
A spokesperson for Gov. Bruce Rauner declined to comment on the president’s tweet.
Published at 8:37 PM CST on Jan 24, 2017 | Updated 5 hours ago