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theodore M I R A L D I mpa ... editor, publisher, writer. katherine molé mfa ... art director
Monday, June 22, 2020
BLOODY WEEKEND ACROSS NATION
Deadly Weekend in Seattle, Chicago, Minneapolis as New York City Reports Uptick in Shootings
Major cities in the U.S. reported bloody weekends amid increased calls to defund and disband police departments in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody.
Chicago recorded at least 11 killed and 67 wounded during an outbreak of violence, according to Fox 32. The deaths included a 3-year-old and a 13-year-old girl. The teenage girl was home Saturday night when she was struck in the neck from the shot fired from outside. She was pronounced dead at Stroger Hospital.
CBS Chicago reported that eight of those shot were children and teens, four of them died. The 3-year old was with his stepfather at about 6:30 p.m. on Saturday when he was struck in the back. Witnesses told the station that the gunfire came from a blue Honda.
“Tears are a natural reaction to these tragic stories of violence. But we need to do more than just cry,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said. “Let’s keep violent offenders in jail longer, and let’s revamp the home monitoring system. It’s not working.”
Our city's collective heart breaks to hear the unfathomable news of a 3-year-old boy who was shot and killed tonight on Chicago's West Side. There are simply no words to describe such a heinous, unconscionable act of cowardice to shoot at a toddler.
Councilmember Kshama Sawant, who represents the neighborhood, reportedly said in a statement that “there are indications” that the shooting could be a “right-wing” attack. KING5 said it reached out to her for more details on the claim, but did not immediately get a response. No motive has been confirmed by the police.
Minneapolis, the city at the center of the national outrage over Floyd’s death, recorded one death and 11 injured in the uptown section of the city early Sunday morning. Fox 9 reported that it is believed suspects opened fire as patrons waited to go inside a restaurant.
"They had to have started over here on the sidewalk and made their way out to the middle of the street here shooting back and forth," Fred Hwang, a witness, told the station. "That's why there's broken glass here and over here and also right next to our building, there's a broken window."
The shooting drew the attention of Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., who tweeted, “It breaks my heart to see another senseless act of violence in Minneapolis. Our city has been through so much, and we must promote peace by putting an end to gun violence.”
The New York Post reported Monday that there was one shooting in the city per hour on Saturday and cited a police chief who told the paper that defendants arrested for gun possession have been allowed to skip jail during the coronavirus pandemic. The paper reported that 24 people were shot citywide on Saturday alone.
The bloody weekend comes as cities across the country consider the future of policing. The Floyd case and the recent killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta has strained the relationship between city leaders and police unions. Protesters say cities are spending too much money on these departments and not enough on inner-city programs. Police unions have said they felt abandoned by politicians and targeted in the press.
The liberal wing of the Democrat Party has called for cities to either dramatically defund or break up police departments outright.
Omar has said that the Minneapolis Police Department is “rotten to the root” and should be dismantled. She called the department a cancer that needs to be amputated so it does not spread.
Key Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, are distancing themselves from the “defund” push.
“I don’t support defunding the police. I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency, honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate they can protect the community, everybody in the community,” Biden told “CBS Evening News."
Bill de Blasio, the New York City mayor, earlier this month vowed to cut the department’s funding. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told Spectrum News 1 that some of the NYPD's $6 billion in annual funding should be redirected to address systemic racism. She said the $6 billion budget for the city police “costs us books in the hands of our children and costs us very badly needed” investment in public housing.
Supporters say defunding the police isn’t about eliminating police departments or stripping agencies of all of their money. They say it is time for the country to address systemic problems in policing in America and spend more on what communities across the U.S. need, like housing and education.
De Blasio did not identify exactly how much he plans to cut, but the NYPD announced last week that it was disbanding its anti-crime team. Commissioner Dermot Shea said roughly 600 plainclothes officers from the anti-crime unit will be reassigned to other teams.
The disbanding follows the suspension of an NYPD officer for discharging mace on a protester during a demonstration in the wake of George Floyd’s death. Two other officers have been suspended, a third was place on modified duty, and a precinct commander has been transferred.
President Trump has used calls to defund police to position himself as the law-and-order candidate.