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McCarthy: Denying Recognizance Bonds Prevents Gang Retaliation

Supt. Garry McCarthy

Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — In the latest effort to curb a murder rate that has propelled Chicago into the national spotlight this summer, police Supt. Garry McCarthy says gang members can no longer expect to be released on recognizance bonds.

Recognizance bonds, or I-bonds, allow arrestees to be released with just a signature and an ID, provided that they promise to show up for their court date. No cash is required.

Releasing gang members on I-bonds has made arresting them effectively useless – particularly when police are trying to prevent retaliatory shootings, McCarthy said.

“If those officers go to another gang location and make an arrest, and bring in a gang member, and he receives an I-bond, that gang member is actually out the door before the police officer is done doing his paperwork, so the likelihood of retaliation is not really being slowed down,” McCarthy said. “By not giving them the I-bonds, they’re in custody for at least a couple more hours – sometimes up to 48 hours – which really follows up on what we’re doing as far as preventing that shooting.”

McCarthy says that longer period in custody makes gang members less likely to retaliate, given that that they have a “cooling off” period while behind bars.

“You know, my experience in New York had it that when people knew that they were going to get stopped on the street, they stopped carrying guns. When they got into a dispute with somebody, when they went to get their gun and come back, many times the person’s gone. Many times, they cool off by the time they get the gun,” McCarthy said. “This prevents the emotional retaliation.”

The new policy on gang members and I-bonds has been in effect for about the past month, and McCarthy says it is already working.
“Shootings have been down. Shootings have been down since the end of March, when we put some of these components into place, and with that, the murder rate is coming down with it,” he said. “We’ve put about 1,500 or so gang members now through this process where they did not receive I-bonds, and it’s working.”