Chicago’s Police Department has been under a federal consent decree for years, but it’s been notoriously slow to implement court-enforced reforms. The department is also staffed by overworked officers who are scrambling to address gun violence and distrusted by much of the public, WBEZ reports. Experts told the station that the authority to overhaul the department lies largely with the superintendent, the mayor-appointed leader of Chicago’s police force.
Enter Larry Snelling, Mayor Brandon Johnson’s pick to be the city’s next top cop. Snelling is a lifelong South Side resident and a veteran officer who redesigned the department’s use-of-force policy, according to Block Club Chicago. He still needs to be confirmed by the City Council, but the Chicago Sun-Times reports that Snelling has been the “odds-on favorite” since the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability announced the finalists for the position last month. At a news conference Monday, Snelling said he would prioritize “improving officer wellness and training; using Johnson’s ‘whole of government’ approach to reduce violent crime with a heavy focus on ‘forgotten’ crime victims; and, rebuilding shattered trust between citizens and police by making every cop a community policing officer,” per the Sun-Times.
There’s a backdrop to all of this. As The Trace’s Rita Oceguera reported in June, Chicagoans who voted for Johnson expressed hopes that his community-driven approach to public safety would reduce the city’s gun violence — and now that he’s in office, supporters and critics alike are watching to see if he follows through on his campaign promises. Ja’Mal Green, a Chicago native and organizer who also ran for mayor, told Oceguera that the city needs public safety leaders “who actually are trying to understand what’s really going on at the grassroot level, not just more office people.” Green continued: “That’s been going on too long, which is why none of the problems ever get solved, because you don’t have actual field people who understand the streets.”
What to Know Today
It would be easy to paint Tennessee as a place where white supremacism and far-right conservatism go unchecked, particularly since this spring, when GOP lawmakers expelled two Black representatives from the state House for participating in a gun violence protest. But that narrative neglects the state’s rich history of effective social justice organizing — and how these movements are gaining ground today. [In These Times]
911 dispatchers in New York are routinely made to work back-to-back shifts and discouraged from taking sick leave, according to internal memos and interviews with current operators. Some dispatchers said many of their co-workers are calling out sick because they are too tired to work, conditions they worry could endanger the public. [Gothamist]
If guns have always been part of U.S. society, argues political scientist Robert J. Spitzer, then so have gun laws. Because of the Bruen decision, such early laws have come to the fore, and many of them directly correspond to modern regulations, including public carry and “sensitive places” policies. [The Atlantic]
In gun-friendly Missouri, the Kansas City Council passed two gun restrictions to address an increase in homicides: One ordinance criminalizes weapon and ammunition transfers to minors; the other bans machine guns, conversion devices, and silencers, among other weapons. [KCUR]
After setting off a vitriolic online debate over proposed gun legislation, Louisiana state Representative Mandie Landry, a progressive Democrat, wanted to find a new approach that could garner support from her Republican colleagues. She proposed offering incentives for people to buy safe storage equipment — and her bill passed through the Legislature without a single “no” vote. [NOLA.com]
Ammon Bundy, the leader of an armed anti-government militia, was arrested and quickly released last weekend in Gem County, Idaho, after his supporters harassed the sheriff at his home. The arrest was related to a defamation lawsuit, for which Bundy was found in contempt of court. [VICE]
125 — the number of homicides in Kansas City, Missouri, so far this year, including people killed by police. By this time in 2022, there had been 101 homicides. [KCUR]