Before his inauguration and since taking office, Donald J. Trump has repeatedly said he would send the feds into Chicago to help the city deal with its incessant gang violence and out of control murder rate. Now a report notes that members of Trump’s Department of Justice will soon visit The Windy City to do just that.
According to Chicago’s WGN TV, the U.S. Department of Justice is sending representatives to Chicago next week to work with the city to craft new policies that will address the internecine gang warfare killing Chicagoans in record numbers.
The move has been developing for months.
As the last days of the Obama administration counted down, the Justice Department issued a report insisting that the Chicago Police Department has “unconstitutionally engaged” in the use of “excessive” force, spurring the CPD to release a statement saying it would work on reforms with the DOJ.
The issue didn’t fade away with the end of the Obama administration. Early in January, Trump made a stir by Tweeting that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel should ask for federal help if he finds himself incapable of putting an end to the violence.
Chicago murder rate is record setting – 4,331 shooting victims with 762 murders in 2016. If Mayor can't do it he must ask for Federal help!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 2, 2017
At the time, Chicago officials carefully avoided directly addressing Trump’s offer but also did not shut the door on federal assistance.
The President did not leave it at that, however, and Tweeted on the topic again at the end of the month. Whereas his first Tweet was an offer that put the onus on Chicago to ask for help, his second was more pointed and seemed geared to immediate action.
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 second Tweet provoked a statement from Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who said he would welcome the help. “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,” Chicago’s top cop wrote.
The citizens of Chicago await the results of the collaboration — especially after three children were shot and two killed in just a two-day period this week. The murder rate in the city has already exceeded the rate for this time last year, and 2016 also ended with the city’s highest murder rate in years.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.