Chicago PD told to increase arrests or face demotion after meeting with mayor: report

One source said the “threatening” message essentially meant “make do with what you have to get more arrests.”

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot reportedly warned Chicago police leaders that they will be demoted or lose their lose jobs if they fail to increase arrest numbers. 

During the closed-door meeting, Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown didn’t outline how they intend to tackle the surging violent crime in the city or the department-wide staffing issues amid COVID-19 mandates, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

One source said the “threatening” message essentially meant “make do with what you have to get more arrests” and “clear more murders or you will be demoted.”

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown (left) and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (right) at a press conference in 2019. (Photo: Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

The move could lead to an increase of petty arrests, with one source noting that “Black and Brown communities are going to get hit the hardest.”

Chicago reportedly reached about 800 homicides by the end of 2021, with more than 12,000 firearms recovered off the streets. During a press conference on Tuesday, Lightfoot and Brown discussed the department’s plan to combat the rising gun violence.

The city intends to add 100 new homicide detectives to the 200 seasoned investigators that will reportedly help improve the CPD’s clearance rate. The goal is to reach 1300 detectives department-wide, Brown said.

“If you come downtown or anywhere else to engage in disorderly conduct or other crimes you will be arrested,” Brown said at a December press conference.

Meanwhile, a Chicago-area judge has rejected Mayor Lightfoot’s request to jail “violent, dangerous offenders” instead of placing them on electronic monitoring devices while they await trial.

Cook County Chief Judge Tim Evans said Tuesday that granting the request would be a violation of both the U.S. and state constitutions, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

“I must continue to sound the alarm about the growing number of pre-trial offenders released back to the communities in Chicago on electronic monitoring,” the mayor wrote in a letter to Judge Evans on Dec. 29. “The ballooning number of violent and dangerous people on EM is one of those drivers as they impact the communities to which they return in multiple, harmful ways.”

In a statement Tuesday, Evans said Lightfoot’s request to end electronic monitoring treated defendants as if they are “considered guilty until proven innocent.”

“A judge cannot hold someone pretrial without a finding that the defendant poses a real and present threat to the physical safety of any person. This must be found by clear and convincing evidence and the burden of proof is on the prosecution,” Evans wrote. “The mayor’s proposal seems to require that defendants facing certain allegations be considered guilty until proven innocent.”

In her letter to the judge, Mayor Lightfoot said she wants a moratorium on electronic monitoring for offenders where “the lead charge is murder, attempted murder, aggravated gun possession, felons in possession, sex crimes, illegal gun possession, vehicular carjacking, kidnapping or attempted kidnapping or other crimes of violence.”

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