By Chris Hacker
Data obtained by the CBS 2 Investigators sheds new light on Chicago Police officers’ use of firearms, and shows for the first time just how often officers point guns at people without firing.
Explore the dataMap: Chris Hacker, CBS Chicago • Source: CPD data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request
In 2019, the Chicago Police Department began requiring officers to report when they point a gun at someone. These so-called “firearm pointing incidents” give the public the first glimpse of how frequently officers point their guns at people, where those incidents happen, and how frequently they end in arrest.
Most of the firearm pointing incidents happened on the city’s South and West sides — places predominantly populated by people of color which see the highest levels of gun violence, accordPreview Changes (opens in a new tab)ing to city data analyzed by CBS 2CBS 2 was the first to report on this data when it was first available. Now, new data from CPD’s Force Review Unit makes it possible for the first time to see the circumstances surrounding each incident. The data shows that, most of the time, no one is arrested after an officer points his or her gun at someone without firing.
The data CBS 2 obtained covers November 2019 through mid-June 2021. But it doesn’t cover every gun pointing incident. Officers only have to report when they point their weapons directly at someone, not when they remove a gun from its holster. In addition, some specialized officers such as those in SWAT teams or those officially assigned to federal task forces don’t have to report when they point their guns at all.
CBS 2 reached out to CPD about this new data, but the department hasn’t responded.