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CHICAGO (AP) — After a recent bloody weekend in Chicago, the city’s top police officer reiterated something he’s said many times in recent months: People accused of gun-related offenses are too quickly and easily getting back on the street.
This time, Superintendent Eddie Johnson unveiled a new online tool aimed at illustrating his point by giving the public a quick way to see who’s been arrested on gun-related charges and whether they have posted bail.
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“If we’re OK with how things are going, then don’t look at it,” Johnson said as he announced the Gun Offender Dashboard. “But if you want to know why we are suffering from some of the things we are, then take a look at it and come to your own conclusions.”
The tool is part of a public relations offensive to draw attention to what Johnson and Mayor Lori Lightfoot say is a cause of gun violence in Chicago, where more people are fatally shot than in any other city in the U.S.
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But critics decry it as a scare tactic that lumps people arrested while carrying or even standing near a gun with those who have pulled them out and used them. They say it unfairly maligns people who under the law are presumed innocent and is aimed at pressuring judges into keeping people locked up while they await trial.
“The people on this list have not been convicted of the crimes for which they were charged,” Cook County Public Defender Amy Campanelli said in a written statement. “Yet CPD is flaunting bond court stats as if they have already been convicted.”
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“Even sex offenders have to be found guilty in a court of law before we put them on a public registry labeling them as sex offenders,” added Era Laudermilk, a top Campanelli deputy.
The dispute over the tool stems...
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