It’s only September and Chicago has already racked up its highest homicide rate in two decades.
According to Chicago police, 65 people were shot over Labor Day Weekend. Thirteen of those victims were killed, sending the city’s homicide rate to over 500 murders so far this year; 27 more than last year.
City officials and citizens are all questioning what can be done to stop the bloodshed that has engulfed the nation’s third largest city.
Alderman Raymond Lopez from Chicago’s 15th Ward spoke with Roland Martin about the epidemic of violence during Wednesday’s edition of NewsOne Now. During his appearance, Lopez shared a very controversial view on why there has been an uptick in killings in Chicago and why there seems to be a slowdown in community policing.
When asked if the Chicago Police Department is doing its job as it relates to stopping the shootings, Alderman Lopez said the CPD is “doing their job to the best of their ability” and then added, “Unfortunately, they are handcuffed by our ACLU agreement with regards to the ‘stop-and-frisk’ policies,” said Lopez.
“In the old days … police would pull people over or approach people who they felt were suspicious or looked as though they needed to be talked to about their activities. Unfortunately now, police can’t do that.
“Police have to have probable cause in order to engage anyone in the neighborhood and that has in some ways emboldened some criminals to act out and be more aggressive and be more bold in their efforts.”
Martin pushed back against Lopez’s tone-deaf assessment, pointing out that when “stop-and-frisk” was halted in New York, there was no increase in criminal activity.
Lopez responded: “We spend thousands of dollars, hundreds of thousands of dollars, training our police officers to be very aware and be very cognizant of the individuals that they are approaching on the street.”
Not being able to question people about their activities “really hampers our efforts in the neighborhood,” he continued.
NewsOne Now panelist Amber J. Phillips, Co-Director of digital organizing firm BLACK, called those claims “absurd.”
She added it is unfair to say “the reason why your community is suffering or that murders are happening in our hometowns is because a) you deserve more police brutality, you deserve more of the weight of the oppressor on your neck, or b) somehow there’s just something wrong with you.
“We know that none of that is true … they need to try harder to exist in a world where we can walk down our streets safely, where we have more investment in our community without this idea that, ‘You know what? Since you all want to speak up for yourselves we’re going to not protect you, we’re not going to do our jobs.'”
Watch Roland Martin’s exchange with Alderman Raymond Lopez and the NewsOne Now panel discussion immediately after in the video clip above.
PHOTO CREDIT: Getty