CHICAGO (CBS) — Police Supt. Eddie Johnson was in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to meet with Attorney General Jeff Sessions about gun violence in Chicago.
Johnson was one of ten police chiefs scheduled to meet with Sessions to talk about big city crime, but Chicago’s top cop also was set to have a one-on-one talk with the nation’s top justice official.
Chicago Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Johnson will ask session to detail more federal prosecutors to Chicago to prosecute repeat gun offenders. He’ll also seek more ATF, DEA, and FBI agents in Chicago to create task forces focused on gangs and guns in high-crime districts.
Guglielmi said Johnson also wants to get an ATF ballistics lab to process evidence from shootings, and more federal funding for “mentoring, economic development, and community building efforts.”
President Donald Trump repeatedly has called out Chicago for the rising number of shootings and murders over the past year, and at one point, in a Twitter post, threatened to “send in the feds” if the city doesn’t get a handle on violent crime.
However, the White House has not specified how it plans to assist Chicago in efforts to reduce violent crime.
While in D.C., Johnson also likely is to discuss the Justice Department’s investigation of the Chicago Police Department, which resulted in a scathing report that took CPD to task for systemic violations of civil rights, finding officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities.
The report was submitted by the Justice Department under former President Barack Obama, and Sessions has shown little willingness to follow through with a consent decree that would allow for court enforcement of police reforms.
Instead, Sessions has said the Justice Department will “pull back” on federal civil rights probes of police departments, and suggested police have become less aggressive as a result of increased scrutiny.
“One of the big things out there that’s, I think, causing trouble, and where you see the greatest increase in violence and murders in cities is somehow, some way, we undermined the respect for our police and made, oftentimes, their job more difficult,” he said in a speech to the National Association of Attorneys General last month. “It’s not been well-received by them, and we’re not seeing the kind of effective, community-based, street-based policing that we found to be so effective in reducing crime.”
After his meeting with Sessons on Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, who has been nominated as deputy attorney general, and implemented “Project Exile,” a targeted federal gun prosecution program credited with significantly reducing homicides in Baltimore since 2007.