What To Know Today
The explosion of state-funded community violence intervention. This week, the Republican governor of Massachusetts signed a massive $4 billion COVID-19 relief spending bill that includes the state’s American Rescue Plan stimulus money. The bill earmarks $65 million for an array of gun violence prevention programs, including $50 million for community-based violence interventions, youth programs, and expanded reentry services. This kind of direct state investment in community-led solutions to violence has become much more common in recent years. In 2017, five states set aside a total of $60 million for this work, according to a recent tally from Mike McLively, who directs the Community Violence Initiative at the gun reform group Giffords. This year, by the same count, 15 states have pledged nearly $700 million in such funding.
How much should Chicago’s political maps reflect its existing neighborhoods? The city is currently drafting local maps for political wards based on 2020 Census figures, and many community leaders are pushing for those maps to reflect the boundaries residents give their neighborhoods. Residents in Englewood on the city’s South Side, for example, are divvied up between several different wards, each of which has its own ward leader. Part of the difference between geography and political maps is intentional, experts tell WBEZ, since having wards that crisscross neighborhoods can increase Black and brown representation on the City Council. But locals say the city must balance that effort with the reality that splitting a single neighborhood into multiple wards makes it harder for neighbors to band together and lobby their leaders to solve an issue. “Keeping communities as intact as possible is an easy first step toward addressing the uptick in violence,” tweeted Professor Robert Vargas, the director of the Justice Project at the University of Chicago.
D.C. attorney general files suit against Oath Keepers, Proud Boys over Capitol attack. The civil suit was filed against the far-right groups and dozens of their members for participating in the assault on the Capitol on January 6. It seeks restitution for damages to D.C. property and attacks on city police officers during the insurrection. It’s the third active suit against the groups — but first from a government agency — that cites the post-Civil War-era Ku Klux Klan Act, which was designed to prevent violent conspiracies from interfering with Congress’s constitutional duties. The vast majority of those named in the suit are also facing federal criminal charges.
Man who threatened Speaker Nancy Pelosi is sentenced to 28 months. Cleveland Meredith Jr., 53, pleaded guilty to one count of making interstate communication of threats after driving from Colorado to Washington, D.C., on January 6 with a pistol, rifle, and 2,500 rounds of ammunition. He admitted to texting a relative about “putting a bullet in [Pelosi’s] noggin on Live TV.” In exchange for Meredith’s guilty plea, prosecutors dropped three D.C. weapons charges against him. On Tuesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson gave Meredith credit for the approximately 11 months he’s already served.
Keechant Sewell will become the first woman to lead the NYPD. Incoming Mayor Eric Adams plans to officially announce her appointment later today. The 49-year-old is currently the Nassau County chief of detectives. In a statement, Adams said Sewell was “a proven crime fighter with the experience and emotional intelligence to deliver both the safety New Yorkers need and the justice they deserve.”
~5,700 — the number of guns the Transportation Security Administration recovered at airports this year. The agency says it’s an all-time record. [ABC News]