CHICAGO — One hundred people — including two police officers — were shot in Chicago over the long Fourth of July weekend, including 18 homicides, the city’s police department said Tuesday.
Among those injured were at least a dozen children. None of them had died as of Tuesday morning, but at least three of the minors were in critical condition.
The bloodshed was comparable to the long Fourth of July weekend last year, when 17 people were fatally shot and 70 more were wounded. A 7-year-old girl and 14-year-old boy were among the dead that weekend.
Police Superintendent David Brown put much of the blame for the gun violence on a court system that allows people charged with violent crimes, including murder, to be released from custody on electronic monitoring.
“The courts releasing people charged with murder back into the communities…. is creating an unsafe environment for all of us,” Brown said at a news conference.
Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans took issue with Brown’s criticism of electronic monitoring, saying in a statement Tuesday that it is “based on the constitutional principle should not be imprisonment before they are tried, unless they pose a significant danger to the community.”
Evans did not mention Brown by name or respond directly to his comments about a 7-year-old girl who was fatally shot in April, allegedly by a man who was on electronic monitoring after being charged with murder in another killing. But he made it clear that such comments were unfair.
“Looking at individual tragic cases in isolation may contribute to the speculation that releasing individuals before trial rather than incarcerating them — whether by placing them on Electronic Monitoring (EM) or other forms of supervision — means an increase in crime,” he said. “But speculation based on isolated cases is not the same as reality based on a complete picture, and research has shown that bail reform has not led to an increase in crime.”
Brown has been under pressure for the violent crime that rose dramatically in 2020 compared to the year before and shows little sign of slowing down thus far this year. Even before the holiday weekend, the department said in the first six months of the year there were 332 homicides compared to 338 for the same period last year and that there were more shooting victims and shooting incidents than during the same six-month period last year.
He picked up Tuesday where he left off last week when he was called before the City Council to explain his crime fighting strategies ahead of what is traditionally one of the most violent weekends of the year.
As he did in his City Council appearance, Brown defended his department, including in his briefing to reporters that his officers had recovered 244 illegal guns over the long weekend.
“Strategy-wise, we did our part,” he said.