CHICAGO (CBS) — Some politicians in the past have recommended deploying the National Guard to help Chicago quell gun violence, but Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin went even further on Thursday, suggesting the United Nations perhaps send in peacekeepers in the face of what he called a “quiet genocide.”
Boykin was traveling to New York to meet with Oscar Fernandez-Taranco of Argentina, the U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Support, to seek international help with “horrific levels of shootings” and other violent crime in West Side and South Side communities.
“I’m hoping to appeal to the U.N. to actually come to Chicago and meet with victims of violence, and maybe even possibly help out in terms of peacekeeping efforts, because I think it’s so critical for us to make sure that these neighborhoods are safe,” Boykin said at O’Hare International Airport on Thursday.
Boykin said leaders in Chicago and Cook County have failed to protect many communities from violent crime.
“There is a quiet genocide taking place in too many of our communities. Eighty percent of those who are being killed by gun violence are African American, and often killed at the hands of another African American,” he said. “So we must protect these population groups, and that’s what the United Nations does. They’re a peacekeeping force. They know all about keeping the peace, and so we’re hopeful that they’ll hear our appeal.”
Boykin said Chicago must “utilize every avenue” available to protect its people from gun violence, possibly including U.N. peacekeepers.
“They’ve been able to help in places like Africa and abroad, where they’ve sent troops in and sent forces in to help protect minority and vulnerable populations, and so quite frankly I think the same can be said for here in Chicago,” Boykin said. “I’m talking about physical security. I’m also talking about maybe suggestions for what we can do in Chicago to help protect our minority populations. We’re being, again, decimated by the violence that we see here in Chicago. I mean this is really a genocide, and we have to do something to stop it.”
Recent figures from the Chicago Police Department showed homicides and shootings were down through the end of November, compared to the same time last year, but it’s not enough for Boykin.
“I know that the mayor may tout the fact that the number of people being shot is down, and the number of people being killed is down, but let me tell you, we’ve had over 600 people killed by gun violence already this year alone. That is a huge number,” Boykin said.
Through the end of November, Chicago has had at least 620 homicides. While down significantly from last year, when there were more than 720 homicides through November, that’s still a significant increase from most of the past 15 years.
“In my community of Austin, we’ve had 450 people shot, and 80 people killed this year alone, and so we have to do more to protect these communities, and that’s what we’re going to do. If we can’t get it done here with the leaders of the city, the state, and the county working together to utilize their budgets to help protect these communities, then I have to appeal to a higher authority, and a higher force,” Boykin said.
The meeting at the U.N. has been in the works for more than a month.
“Quite frankly, we can’t wait until the mayor comes up with another 1,000 police to try to make the streets safer. Quite frankly, the people want to be safe right now in their homes and their neighborhoods, and we want to make sure that they’re safe,” Boykin said.
Boykin will return from his meeting in New York on Thursday night.