Trump has repeatedly decried the gun violence that plagues the city of Chicago, along with other Republicans and NRA-types who claim that Chicago is proof that gun laws only serve to create more bloodshed. Yet, here is Jeff Sessions, creating a program to give more federal manpower to 12 cities to help them combat violent crime…and Chicago isn’t one of them.
The 12 cities are:
- Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Birmingham, Alabama
- Buffalo, New York
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Indianapolis, Indiana
- Jackson, Tennessee
- Kansas City, Missouri
- Lansing, Michigan
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Springfield, Illinois
- Toledo, Ohio
The absence of Chicago and another city with a huge violent crime problem, Baltimore, is a bit surprising. Earlier this year, Donald Trump compared Chicago to Afghanistan in terms of being a war zone, and threatened to “send in the feds” if Chicago officials were unable to stop the bloodshed. He also blasted the Chicago Police Department for “not doing the job:”
“Maybe they’re not gonna have to be so politically correct. Maybe they’re being overly political correct. Maybe there’s something going on.”
But a DOJ report blistered the CPD over its use of excessive force and routine violations of the constitutional rights of residents. This is particularly true for Chicago’s black and Latino residents. Furthermore, Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emannuel, has repeatedly asked for more help from the federal government to combat these problems.
There’s one worrying thing about this plan, too: Are DOJ officials going to work with these cities to develop broken-windows policing techniques? That doesn’t work – it just leads to a higher incarceration rate for ridiculously minor crimes. It also disproportionately targets the black community, making it an inherently racist policy.
In the end, though, if Chicago is such a god-awful mess, and they want the help, then why wouldn’t the DOJ put Chicago on this list? It’s always possible that these 12 cities are testing grounds. However, it’s also possible that they think they don’t need to prioritize Chicago right now because they already sent 20 agents from the the ATF, and are considering reallocating federal prosecutors.
A spokesman for the DOJ says that more cities will be added later in the year. The cities on this list will not receive more federal funding, per se, but they will receive agency experts and employees to work with their governments on developing strategies for how to best fight violent crime.
Featured image via Scott Olson/Getty Images