FOX 32/AP - Chicago police are debunking Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's claim that department officials told him they can reduce crime by being tougher.
During a Monday interview on Fox News' "O'Reilly Factor," Trump said Chicago's police force doesn't have "the right people in charge." He added he met "very top police," a "rough, tough guy" who told him if a specific person were put in charge, violence could be stopped "in one week."
"He said, ‘Mr. Trump, I’d be able to stop it in one week!’ And I believed him 100%,” Trump told O'Reilly. “He wants to use tough police tactics.”
When asked specifically which tough tactics, Trump told O'Reilly he didn't ask because "I'm not the mayor of Chicago." But he said, "The wrong people are in charge."
The man who is in charge, Police Supt. Eddie Johnson, through a spokesman responded: "No one in the senior command... has ever met with Donald Trump.... The best way to address crime is through...community policing and...stronger laws to keep illegal guns and repeat violent offenders off the street."
As that played out, apparently by coincidence, Trump's former campaign manager was relitigating events at the University of Illinois Chicago last March, when Trump cancelled a rally after it was supposed to have begun. It dissolved into a fist-swinging brawl.
“It was so chaotic and it was so out of control that the Secret Service and the Chicago Police Department told him, ‘You could not get in and out of that facility safely.’ And that rally was canceled. And you showed the footage many times of the individuals who attended that rally,” said former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
A Chicago Police spokesman angrily disputed the Trump campaign's claim that lawmen warned him to cancel last spring's rally at UIC. He claims then-Supt Escalante and top-ranking Secret Service agents told Trump they would "guarantee" his safety if the event went forward.
As of Monday, homicides in Chicago totaled 441. That's up from 296 at the same time last year.