Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is defending the city’s efforts to get illegal guns off the street after a suggestion from Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on how to curb the city’s violence.
On a cable news show Thursday, Trump suggested that Chicago adopt a stop-and-frisk approach practiced for years by New York City cops. A federal judge in 2013 found that approach unconstitutional and racially discriminatory.
“When you have 3,000 people shot and so many people dying,” Trump said, “I think Chicago needs stop-and-frisk.”
Chicago, in fact, has had a stop-and-frisk program for years. As it intensified, a WBEZ investigation found, officers seized fewer guns, detectives solved fewer murders, and a decade-long decline in gun violence ended.
Johnson said he didn’t want to “fan the flames” in response to Trump.
But he pointed to an ACLU settlement and a new Illinois law. Starting in January, they added paperwork to make sure that cops, for each stop, had a reasonable suspicion a crime was afoot.
“We’ll never be at the numbers that we were before in terms of how we document stops,” Johnson said. “But our gun arrests and our gun recoveries are up. So that tells me that we’re hitting the right people.”