CHICAGO - After meeting at the White House Monday with both President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland, Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said he is optimistic about getting new federal help.
It is the worst year for violence in Chicago in more than a decade. Nearly 2,200 people have been shot so far, with the Cook County Medical Examiner reporting more than 400 homicides.
The president promised last month to send a new, anti-crime task force of federal agents to Chicago. Brown said they would begin work soon.
Brown added that both Biden and Garland made specific pledges of assistance.
"It includes additional prosecutions," Brown said. "It includes fast tracking investigations of conspiracy cases. These are the people that drive violence in our cities."
In addition to Brown, the meeting included police chiefs and mayors from several other big cities. Chicago’s surge in criminal violence is not unique. Los Angeles, Atlanta, New York and Philadelphia have all seen huge increases in shootings and killings.
As Brown talked outside the White House, by coincidence Mayor Lori Lightfoot was speaking to reporters in Chicago.
Lightfoot responded for the first time to unusual, public criticism aimed at her by Chief Judge Timothy Evans. In a lengthy interview that aired on Flannery Fired Up over the weekend, Evans complained that the mayor and Supt. Brown were grossly unfair in their repeated attacks on Cook County Circuit Court judges.
Lightfoot and the superintendent blasted judges for releasing onto electronic monitoring as many as 94 defendants who face murder charges. Evans told FOX 32 he has reviewed those cases and defended the judges’ decisions. Evans said nearly all defendants released on electronic monitoring did not have a previous record of violence. He said in some cases there are witnesses who would exonerate the murder defendants and in others, there is a claim of self-defense.
Referring to Lightfoot and Brown, Evans told FOX 32, "they have pointed the finger at us. And we know that finger pointing doesn't work."
Lightfoot responded on Monday.
"There’s been a lot of conversation over the course of the last week about finger pointing and so forth. That's not what this is about… I don't know any community that will feel safe when people that are charged with murder…are back out into the community within 24 or 48 hours of being arrested by the police department," she said.