Monday, September 05, 2016


"Chicago police:  Spike in gun deaths represents ‘clear failure' of criminal justice" PBS NewsHour 8/29/2016


SUMMARY:  Nykea Aldridge was walking her baby in a park on Chicago's South Side when she was killed in crossfire.  The tragedy has sparked a conversation about rising gun violence in the city, where homicides exceed those in New York and Los Angeles combined.  John Yang speaks with Chicago Life's Rev. Jedidiah Brown and Lori Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board, for more on the crisis.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  More than 80 people have been killed in Chicago this month.  And more than 400 have been shot in August.  It's part of a weekly and even daily pattern of violence plaguing big and often impoverished sections of the city.  So far, it's a crisis that has eluded major solutions.

John Yang has the story.

JOHN YANG (NewsHour):  One of Chicago's bloodiest weekends this year ended the city's deadliest month in 20 years.  Among the victims, Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of basketball star Dwyane Wade, now with the Chicago Bulls.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson:

EDDIE JOHNSON, Superintendent, Chicago Police Department:  She wasn't aware that her short life would stand as an example for what is a clear failure in the criminal justice system here in Chicago.

JOHN YANG:  Aldridge was caught in crossfire as she pushed one of her four young children in a stroller near a school on the city's South Side.  The surge in gun killings has largely been concentrated there and on the West Side.

Two brothers, Darwin and Derren Sorrells, are now charged with first-degree murder in Aldridge's killing.  Both are convicted felons on parole, and police said Derren Sorrells is a gang member.

EDDIE JOHNSON:  This reprehensible act of violence is an example of why we need to change the way we treat habitual offenders in the city of Chicago.  When will enough be enough?

JOHN YANG:  Gun violence has fueled a jump in Chicago homicides this year to more than 449, nearly as many as all of last year.  More than 2,300 shootings have been reported since January.  And police have seized nearly 6,000 illegal guns, roughly one every hour.  So far this year, Chicago has seen more homicides than New York and Los Angeles combined, even though both are larger.

This weekend may have been especially bad, but in many ways, it is no different than many other summer weekends in Chicago.

We are joined from Chicago by Jedidiah Brown.  He's a community organizer who's seen this violence firsthand, president of Chicago Life, a community advocacy group.  And by Lori Lightfoot.  She's the president of the Chicago Police Board and the head of the Police Accountability Task Force.  They join us, both, from Chicago.

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