Chicago City Council votes to keep ShotSpotter in major defeat for Johnson

In a significant political setback for Mayor Brandon Johnson, the Chicago City Council voted 34-16 in favor of maintaining the gunshot detection system ShotSpotter, securing a veto-proof majority.

Despite the vote, Mayor Johnson declared that the fight is not over.

"This measure that was voted on today did nothing," Johnson said at a news conference following the meeting. "This City Council does not have executive authority."

Proponents of ShotSpotter passed legislation that aims to collect more data on the system's effectiveness and potentially extend its usage. This development comes despite Mayor Johnson's prior agreement to keep ShotSpotter through the Democratic National Convention (DNC) before phasing it out by the end of the year.

"The fact of the matter is this tool has been proven to be ineffective," Johnson asserted. "I canceled ShotSpotter. It's canceled."

SoundThinking, the company behind ShotSpotter, conducted a vigorous lobbying campaign, gaining the support of more centrist council members. The council meeting featured intense debate, with Alderman Monique Scott of the 24th Ward highlighting the need for ShotSpotter following a mass shooting in her area.

"This is something my community needs," Scott said. "There were 90 shots, six shooters. Not one person called the police. So this is safe for the DNC, but not for my constituents."

Efforts by Johnson's allies to delay the vote using parliamentary maneuvers were ultimately unsuccessful.

A ShotSpotter representative indicated that there would be another vote to secure funding for the system, potentially setting the stage for a legal battle over the technology's future in Chicago.