The American Civil Liberties Union didn’t take too kindly to President Trump’s suggestions this week to tackle Chicago gun violence
“Now Chicago is out of control,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday. “I don’t know what they’re doing in Chicago to have this many shootings and this many killings and all of the different things that are going on. This is not like it’s the United States of America, and pure and simple, that’s bad management, that’s bad politics. It’s incredible.”
“And then you talk to them and say ‘Why aren’t you doing something?’ and they don’t even want to talk to you about it,” Trump continued. “It’s really insulting to our nation. And whether you want to take on the NFL, or take on Chicago…there shouldn’t be murders like this. And we have incredible police in this country. They could stop it, if they were allowed to do their job.”
The ACLU of Illinois then issued a statement on Thursday, condemning Trump’s comments and arguing they show how little the president knows about fighting violent crime in the Windy City.
“It is disconcerting – once again – to see how little President Donald Trump comprehends about policing in Chicago,” said Karen Sheley, Director of the Police Practices Project at the ACLU of Illinois. “He offers an ‘immediate’ solution to gun violence – aggressive policing. We know what he means – this summer he told a room of graduating police officers to physically abuse suspects. Trump’s Administration shirked its responsibility to address excessive force in Chicago after a damning report by President Obama’s Department of Justice. Now he calls for more abuse.”
Sheley also criticized Trump’s repeated referencing of a so-called mystery cop, who the president insisted again during this most recent interview had told him Chicago police could end the problem immediately if authorities would only let them do they’re job. She noted the ACLU had sued for federal oversight of the Chicago Police Department, reforms that had been promised by the Obama administration but not yet carried out by Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Because of the Trump Administration’s unwillingness to do the necessary work to restore trust between the police and the communities they serve, the ACLU has just gone to federal court on behalf of several community groups who are seeking real reform,” Sheley said. “Chicago should listen to them, not Trump’s invocation of a mystery, unnamed police officer, used only to encourage more police violence.”
Trump’s mystery cop anecdote has been disputed by both the CPD and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office, NBC News Chicago reported. A mayoral spokesman even went so far as to say Trump was not living in the “real world.”
“If the President has a name for this mystery person he continues to talk about, we’re all ears,” said spokesman Adam Collins. “In the meantime, we live in the real world and if the president wants to build on the reductions in violence our hard working officers are achieving, if he wants to have an immediate effect on gun violence, he could do something to stop guns from flowing into our city from Indiana and Wisconsin.”
Since the start of the year, there have been 540 total homicides in Chicago. The city reached its 500th shooting homicide last Friday, a week later than it reached that tragic milestone in 2016, according to Chicago Sun-Times data.