Jul 6, 2021

Chicago Police: 100 Shot in Weekend Gun Violence Press Conference Transcript

Chicago Police: 100 Shot in Weekend Gun Violence Press Conference Transcript
RevBlogTranscriptsChicago Police: 100 Shot in Weekend Gun Violence Press Conference Transcript

Chicago police officials held a press conference on July 6, 2021 to address gun violence that took place over the holiday weekend. Over 100 people were shot over the weekend. Read the transcript of the briefing here.

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David Brown: (00:00)
Joint terrorism task force officers debriefed, interviewed this person along with a companion and we are continuing this investigation. The circumstances are this, the employee alerted us, we made contact with this person, made the arrest, began interviews, and we are also conducting gun tracing of both the rifle and the handgun for the investigation.

David Brown: (00:36)
There’s no previous criminal history of this person nor any other issues in our federal databases. But obviously, very concerning given the position of the W Hotel to Navy Pier. With that, we’ll turn it over to Bureau Detective Chief Brendan Deenihan for investigative updates for ongoing cases that occurred over the July 4th weekend. Brendan.

Brendan Deenihan: (01:08)
Good morning. Going to go over a couple of quick updates, I know you guys probably have some questions on multiple other incidents, which I’ll try to answer and then turn it back over to the Sup.

Brendan Deenihan: (01:18)
So on the 4th of July at about 4:30 PM at a 117th and Normal, we had a five-year-old that was shot. That five-year-old was shot in the right leg, in good condition. That was the incident where there was a dog out there and there was a dog bite on a child and somebody came out and discharged a firearm in order to basically scare the dog or remove the dog from the scene, and the child was accidentally struck. So the mother took the child to the hospital, the child’s in good condition, and it’s still an active and ongoing investigation. We didn’t get a lot of cooperation on who discharged the firearm on the scene. So detectives are still working on it, but the child is in good condition.

Brendan Deenihan: (01:59)
And then on the 5th of July at one in the morning 118 East 119th Place, we had a six year old child that was shot. That child was shot in the right hand. That one was a drive-by shooting where the mother and daughter were watching fireworks outside, the car drives by, discharges the firearm, the child is struck and the child is in good condition.

Brendan Deenihan: (02:23)
I know there were several other incidents where children were shot. We had the baby shot in the mass shooting incident, the one month old. That child is still in critical condition and I’m deferring to the doctors on the progress of that baby and what’s going to happen. Still in critical condition, but the child is still alive.

Brendan Deenihan: (02:43)
We had another incident where an eight year old was shot in the head, I think that was on Thursday going into the weekend. And for that one as well, I know the child has a feeding tube, extremely critical condition with a gunshot wound to the head, but that child is still alive as well.

Brendan Deenihan: (02:59)
There was another shooting incident at 61st and Wabash that multiple people were shot. We had two, I believe they were 13 year olds, they were also struck by gunfire. In that incident, there was a large gathering and fireworks that were being shot off when a car drove past and shot into that crowd, then people from that crowd returned fire at that vehicle and these two children were struck. We don’t have any major detective leads on that right now, the detectives are following up on all these investigations, but those two 13 year olds are also in stable condition at this time. Are there any other questions regarding specific investigations that I may be able to speak about?

Speaker 3: (03:41)
How about the W case, can you speak to that?

Brendan Deenihan: (03:44)
No. The Superintendent already addressed the W case and the detectives, I’m talking more about the shootings and the murders. And obviously, we had a commander that was shot in the foot over the weekend as well. The detectives are following up on that case. We do have some video evidence that is helping direct the investigation, but obviously it’s still very open and active as well.

Speaker 3: (04:06)
Regarding that officer shot, and I’m going to just couch it this way, there’s some rumors floating around that this was the commanders own gun that discharged and struck her in the foot and ricocheted and hit somebody else. Can you address that? Shoot that down, pardon the reference there, or clarify what happened with that?

Brendan Deenihan: (04:25)
Sure. It’s just a rumor and that did not occur. We have verifiable objective evidence that shows a person discharging a firearm, and that’s when the commander gets struck. It doesn’t really matter where it happened or where were the rumors may be coming from. But no, the commander and the sergeant that were out there, like I said, we have a verifiable evidence of someone discharging a firearm in their direction and that’s when they get struck.

Speaker 3: (04:58)
None of their weapons went off at all.

Brendan Deenihan: (04:59)
Correct. And I think if we’re going to be reasonable, it was a large crowd and in today’s world with people videoing police officers with cell phones, if an officer was waving a gun around and it discharged in front of a large crowd, that kind of timeframe and I think if we’re just being reasonable, the citizens that were out there would have been videoing that and talking to us about it right away.

Brendan Deenihan: (05:22)
It’s unfortunate that that rumors out there, but no, we have evidence to support and we’re looking for the individual who discharged the firearm.

Speaker 4: (05:28)
Any update on the National Guardsmen that was shot over the weekend in Belmont Cragin?

Brendan Deenihan: (05:33)
I’ll get back to you on that one. I don’t have an update on the investigation. Once again, just a pretty tragic incident. I know the detectives up there who are following up on that investigation and last time I spoke with that specific area, they did have some good leads that they were following up on. But pretty active and ongoing and unfortunately just one of the tragic incidents over the weekend.

Speaker 4: (05:54)
How many kids were shot over the weekend [inaudible 00:05:57].

Brendan Deenihan: (05:58)
We’ll get you that total. I don’t have it in front of me, but we’ll get you that total from whatever timeframe that you guys are looking for. Just get with our news affairs afterwards and we’ll get you that answer.

Speaker 5: (06:14)
Do you have an update on the U. of C. student that was shot and killed on the Green Line?

Brendan Deenihan: (06:16)
Due to the fact that that is a very active investigation, I have some details that I’m just not ready to release at this time. Obviously, we know that he was struck by a stray bullet and the detectives are following up, but I’m not prepared to release the investigative leads at this time.

Speaker 6: (06:35)
What about the downtown disturbances? Can you tell us how many people were arrested there and how many guns were found with that?

David Brown: (06:43)
I can take that real briefly if you don’t mind, unless you have some other investigative questions for Detective Deenihan, I’ll just take the rest of the questions unless you have more for him. I’ll take this one, but you have more for him I’ll wait. More for him?

Speaker 6: (06:56)

David Brown: (06:57)
Okay, great. I’ll just stay here. That question, over 60 arrests were made over the weekend, but specifically that downtown incident where a lot of young people came downtown, things got out of hand, we began making an arrests. And so we ended up with about 60 young people arrested for various charges.

Speaker 6: (07:21)
How many was for possession of weapons?

David Brown: (07:22)
We didn’t have any that I’m aware of at this point. We’re still processing a lot of those reports, but right now we don’t have any illegal gun possession arrests for that specific incident. [crosstalk 00:07:34] I think he was first, then I’ll come to you.

Speaker 7: (07:37)
Superintendent, there were day-off cancellations and officers were moved to 12 hour days, this was department wide, all weekend every officer had to come in to work on the streets. Still over 100 people shot during the extended holiday weekend. Are you finding at all that your crime fighting strategies are ineffective against the level of violence that’s out there on the streets?

David Brown: (07:59)
The reason why I went through what’s happening in other cities is to kind of get you all some context compared to what’s happening in Chicago. I’ll run through it again, but effectiveness, obviously, is measured in “Are we moving the needle at all in this year compared to last year? Are we comparative across what’s happening in the country as it relates to violence?”

David Brown: (08:23)
It’s a violent crime wave in this country that has been going on, carried over from 2020. So again, New York City is up 8%, LA is up 24%, homicides, Houston is up 40%. And again, we get into this conversation about effectiveness. We can take guns off the street. We can charge people with murder. But again, I want to ask you a question in this gallery, how many people think it’s okay to have over 90 people on electronic monitoring that we’ve charged with murder released back to our communities?

David Brown: (08:57)
Just show of hands, who thinks that’s a good idea? For the record, no one raised their hands in the media gallery that thought it was a good idea to release over 90 people [crosstalk 00:09:09]

Speaker 7: (09:08)
You can’t do that [crosstalk 00:09:13].

David Brown: (09:14)
So let me finish my answer to your question. Let me finish my [crosstalk 00:09:18] Can I finish my answer to the question? You get to ask the question. I know, let me finish my answer to the question. The fact that over 90 people charged with murder have been released by our courts back into the community does two things. Number one, it creates this idea of lawlessness for people in the community who knows someone murdered someone and yet there they see him again the following days as if nothing happens.

David Brown: (09:50)
Secondly, because these people murdered someone, the victim and their associates retaliate indiscriminately on where they are. So whether they’re in a car with their kids, whether they’re in a large crowd gathering, they are the targets for retaliation. So now you’ve created the courts. When I say “you”, the courts, have created an unsafe environment for large crowd gatherings, because you’ve released people charged with murder back into the same communities where they committed this heinous crime.

David Brown: (10:27)
So my question again, it’s rhetorical, because it’s really to the people of Chicago who probably are not likely understanding the impacts of releasing people charged with murder back into the community. These are people charged with murder where the State’s Attorney accepted the charges.

David Brown: (10:46)
I hear a lot about what the State’s Attorneys is doing, she charged these people with murder that we brought before them that we’ve arrested and the courts, the courts released them back into the community, creating an unsafe environment for all of us in the crowd when retaliation occurs, when street justice occurs.

David Brown: (11:09)
So when you ask the question whether or not our work is effective, Chicago Police officers are doing their job by arresting people and charging them with murder. That’s doing our part and what’s happening in the courts is creating this unsafe environment for all of us. So, yes, follow-up.

Speaker 8: (11:29)
So Superintendent, my follow up is, last week… and it’s been said before, at least one alderman questioned the data that is out there that actually shows what you’re saying is ringing true. They’re saying that there’s data out there from Cook County, from Loyola University saying that the whole bail system, electronic monitoring, there’s no proof that that’s leading to higher crime.

Speaker 8: (11:50)
And every time we have press conferences like this, there’s always finger pointing between you, State’s Attorneys Foxx’s office, Chief Evans’s office, everyone’s pointing the fingers at each other. So the question is, since you’re the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department what, if anything, can the Chicago Police Department do more of that they are not doing already?

David Brown: (12:07)
We are doing more of everything in an unprecedented historical way. So we’re at 6,100 guns recovered, that’s an unprecedented pace. We are at over 50% clearance rates on homicides, that’s the highest end years of clearance rates. Over the weekend alone we arrested over 80 people charged with violent crimes.

David Brown: (12:38)
So my point is, number one, this issue of the Loyola study has been disputed by others. I think your own paper has published articles disputing the fact that people who are violent that are released back to the community don’t create more violence. There’s not a bible or final product, there’s a dispute amongst the resource community whether or not those facts, that same study, is true. I could point you to another study that says that Loyola study is not true.

David Brown: (13:14)
That’s not my job to go and do your job. I mean, you guys are quick to say, “That’s not our job.” And I’m quick to say, “Yeah, but this is not my job to challenge.” I just want you to keep the same energy in bond court when these violent people are released back to our communities, creating a unsafe environment to be in a crowd, in a drive through of a McDonald’s, anywhere in the community where these people are targeted for retaliation.

David Brown: (13:39)
It’s not whether or not they commit other crimes. That’s also something in dispute, but it’s also people who are targeted that have killed other people by associates, criminal networks, of the victim. Now I’m just standing next to this person who’s targeted and I get shot, or my child gets shot. That’s the unsafe environment that this out of control court principal, or wherever it is, is creating. It’s unsafe to release violent people in a community that has a high level of retaliation back into community, and then be surprised that people shoot at targeting these people.

Speaker 9: (14:20)
Superintendent Brown, just to put this a little bit more [crosstalk 00:14:22].

David Brown: (14:21)
She hadn’t asked a question, so can we let her ask? She hadn’t asked one.

Speaker 9: (14:24)
Just to put that a little bit more in context, at 9:30 this morning there was a Zoom press conference, Alderman Byron Sigcho-Lopez had that and he was talking exactly about these studies. But I think to put it in greater context, he’s saying this is a call for an urgent redirection of strategies where this doesn’t seem to be working, whether it’s confiscating guns, whether it’s the courts and all of these things that he was talking about. But a holistic approach to the violence where federal dollars need to be pumped into giving kids jobs and taking kids off the streets, the root causes, he’s saying is what’s going to help. Just your thoughts on that. Are these strategies working? I think these strategies are more, maybe in your opinion, this is what we need to do now. But what these aldermen are talking about is getting to the root cause of it, which is mental health facilities open, things like that.

David Brown: (15:30)
We have agreed with all of that and we have talked about a whole of government approach at nauseum, for several [inaudible 00:15:37] now. And so that’s nothing new, we’re agreeing with all the holistic whole of government approaches. But each Monday, if I’m the only person answering questions about violence in Chicago, we likely won’t be in that place of discussing what other things can others do?

David Brown: (15:57)
Others are never at this podium with us talking about what we’re doing. So we don’t disagree with the holistic approach, that’s the whole of government approach that the mayor rolled out. But again, no one would do the job the Chicago Police Officers do right now. No one would wade into large crowds and risk being shot. No one would do that job right now. No one would go down these dark alleys that these officers go down. So I want all of us to acknowledge the bravery and courage it takes to do this job, to stand up to violence. And only our officers are doing this right now.

David Brown: (16:38)
Bring on the other parts of the holistic approach, we welcome all of that help. We are part of those programs. We are pushing that agenda of the whole of government. But again, the Chicago Police Department and its officers are doing their job and they’re doing their job in historically unprecedented ways.

Speaker 10: (17:01)
[inaudible 00:17:01] do you think it’s still fair to expect the Chicago Police Department to prevent violence?

David Brown: (17:08)
We’re not looking for fairness. We just want to, number one, acknowledge the hard work of our officers. Number two, I think we’d like to put some of the things that’s happening across this country in context as best you all can. As well as, I want to keep our officers encouraged that the people of Chicago really appreciate their work during challenging weekends like the one we just experienced.

Speaker 10: (17:34)
Are you talking to Kim Foxx’s office on a daily basis. Are you guys trying to work out a plan to figure out… Because again, there’s a lot of finger pointing going on. Are you actively trying to work on trying to figure out how to keep people [crosstalk 00:17:45]

David Brown: (17:44)
I don’t think dissent in a democracy is finger pointing. I think a public debate in the public square is quite appropriate in the way our government is positioned, how democracy works, particularly local democracy. It’s public debate that gets us to a better place. So finger pointing is your words that you use. I’m bringing a debate, about do we continue to release violent people in our courts into these communities and see that the targeting of violent people who are released back creates an unsafe environment for all of us?

David Brown: (18:18)
Do we continue that? That’s a public debate. That’s not finger pointing. I think it’s appropriate. And maybe it changes what the courts do. I think people should hear this. This is not finger pointing. You can call it finger pointing all you want. I can’t write and report for you, but this is a worthwhile debate. Here, and in all places throughout the country that’s having a similar debate about what the courts are doing, particularly in urban centers in our country, and what the results are.

David Brown: (18:50)
And if the cops productivity was down and not unprecedentedly high, I would be arguing we need to do more as police officers. That we need to get more guns off the street, that we arrest more violent people. That’s not the case here. Cops haven’t stopped working. They haven’t. They actually are working… Just this weekend alone, and I’m not going to make this one point, 244 guns were recovered by Chicago police officers just this weekend. Chicago police officers are doing their part. Yes, I’m sorry, you wanted to follow up.

Speaker 11: (19:27)
Yes, I wanted to follow up on the W Hotel thing. How key was the actions by the employee of the hotel in preventing something that could have been very disastrous?

David Brown: (19:37)
Th the fact that the employee was aware enough to, number one, we haven’t been having a lot of hotel service because of COVID. If you all have traveled any at all, changing out the towels, it hadn’t happened that much. So this was unique that we’re still within COVID restrictions somewhat, and this employee saw something by entering the room to clean it that likely prevented a tragedy from happening. So it’s significant and very valuable. And we ought to heap a lot of praise on that employee for being aware and letting us know so we could react quickly and potentially avoid a tragedy.

Speaker 12: (20:18)
Superintendent, when you started this you talked a lot about all the guns that you had taken off the streets over the weekend, some of the murders that you guys have cleared. Would you say that this weekend was a successful weekend, strategy-wise, not officer? Do you think your strategy for this weekend was successful?

David Brown: (20:38)
So again, we’re limited in our strategy because we’re not judge, jailer or juror. We can only do that part of it.

Speaker 12: (20:46)
I’m saying your strategy, was that successful in your eyes?

David Brown: (20:49)
I’m answering your question, you got to quit interrupting. So strategy-wise, we did our part. The outcome of a safer weekend is the criminal justice system, which includes the courts. So if the courts are continuing to release violent people we arrest the outcomes of our strategy are less effective than they could be if they hold violent offenders, and people found in possession of illegal guns. If they held those people with consequences, real consequences that changed behavior.

David Brown: (21:24)
We’re only one part of this formula of safety. We are law enforcement, but we can’t be a juror or a jurist and sit on the court and meet out justice. So the justice system is in parts and our democracy. The law enforcement does their part, and we’re doing our part at a high level. I would argue at the highest level, given the data we give you every week. The other part of the formula to be effective is going to be what the courts do with violent offenders. [crosstalk 00:22:03] He was starting to talk before you came up.

Speaker 13: (22:05)
You pointed to this, and when this has come up before, we’ve heard pushback from both the courts and State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office. So in context of that, what proof do you have that any people out on electronic monitoring either committed crimes over this weekend or were targeted for retaliation and became victims of shootings? Do you have any proof?

David Brown: (22:25)
We gave proof in the council meeting, that was six hours of proof.

Speaker 13: (22:29)
I sat through the whole thing, sir. I don’t remember anything about proof about how many individuals actually were on electronic monitoring who committed crimes or were victims of crimes.

David Brown: (22:37)
We went through that and we can go through that again for you, but we keep a running total of people. For example, over the weekend, as I mentioned, we made some arrests for violent crime. Two of those were on electronic monitoring. We mentioned in the council meeting that seven year old Jaslyn Adams, who was with her father at the McDonald’s drive through when offenders came and shot and killed her targeting her father. One of those shooters was on electronic monitoring.

David Brown: (23:05)
We said this in the city council meeting. I’ll say it again and I’ll keep saying it until the public reacts to what the courts are doing. They’re making us all less safe by releasing violent offenders, often who commit crime and/or… No one disputes the retaliatory nature of our criminals. No one disputes that.

David Brown: (23:28)
You asked me for proof, no one disputes that there’s a high level of street justice in Chicago. And you don’t need me to report that, you have case after case after case that we bring every week where we say the person shot wasn’t targeted, they targeting a person who was involved in crime and this innocent bystander was shot. We say that weekend after weekend. You have your proof. Sorry. Yes, sir. Last question.

Speaker 14: (23:58)
How is CPD working and listening to neighborhood groups like Block Club? Is there any new tactics that you guys are rolling out in terms of interacting with the community and really trying to integrate with community policing?

David Brown: (24:10)
We have rolled out our big swing at community policing several weeks ago. Obviously we have in the past been restricted by COVID, lowers gathering restrictions, but we are no longer restricted as much as we were. And so we’re doing all of the community engagements that we were doing, including beat meetings in person now, we were virtual. Block Club meetings are in person now. Myself and the mayor had been out each weekend engaging the community. As well as everyone that will meet with us, not just the formal meetings, but we’ve been showing up to several events out in the community.

David Brown: (24:46)
I think that’s part of our strategy to engage the community. But again, our strategies are one part of the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in changing behavior of violent offenders. If the other part, the courts, are not meeting out justice that changes behavior, meaning more serious consequences for illegal gun possession and violent offenders, that’s where the outcomes are in my opinion deficient.

Speaker 14: (25:18)
Okay. And you talked about it a lot, what do you think would help change the community perspective to have your guys efforts embedded in the community? [inaudible 00:25:28]

David Brown: (25:28)
The fourth branch of government, the media, will change it. It’s why Thomas Jefferson said I’d rather have media and no government than government and no media. It’s going to be the fourth branch of government that changes what happens in the courts. Thank you all very much.

Speaker 15: (25:45)
Mr. Superintendent, could you address the efforts your officers engaged in downtown with all the young people running wild. It seemed like they have learned a lot, at least from some of their training. I talked to Alderman Hopkins yesterday. How do you feel they handled this downtown incident with these 100 of kids running wild?

David Brown: (26:07)
We are not alone in this effort to try to have an impact on young people’s behavior when they come downtown. We are partnering with CPS staff, they are downtown with us doing these times when overnight the kids come down, along with our street outreach. We have had some success, obviously much more challenging this weekend given all of what else was going on over the weekend.

David Brown: (26:32)
But we have to continue to try and engage more and more people, I would ask the faith community to come on board and others in the community that have nonprofits that have a positive on young people. Come on board, we’ll integrate you into our strategy. It is a evening to early morning strategy, so many people would have to adjust their hours. But we are collaborating with the Chicago Public Schools staff and the street outreach.

David Brown: (26:58)
And obviously this weekend was much more challenging than previous weekends have been. But we, again, want to expand our footprint of who else is involved in helping us corral these young people. But again, make no mistake, when the law is broken we’re going to enforce the law. We arrested 60 young people and we’re there to enforce the law and change this behavior. But we’d much rather others influence young people rather than us end up having to enforce the law and put them in jail and starting a criminal record. So, that’s the last question. Thank you all. I’m sorry. You didn’t get a question.

Speaker 16: (27:34)
Just one quick question.

David Brown: (27:34)
Last one.

Speaker 16: (27:36)
Thanks you for that. Just from a staffing perspective. Do you feel, given how much violence we had just this weekend with 100 people shot over the holiday weekend, that you have enough police officers? You’ve mentioned so many times that not a lot of people want to sign up to be a Chicago cop.

David Brown: (27:49)
Yeah. I think that’s one of the things, I’m glad you asked that, that we obviously need to recruit and retain our officers. The sentiment about policing makes it much more challenging than it’s been in the past. But we are encouraged that we got to put together a dedicated recruiting team with a ground game, we’ve never had that before here in Chicago.

David Brown: (28:09)
As well as offering more in-person tests than we’ve been able to because of COVID last year. We weren’t able to offer any in-person tests last year because of COVID restrictions on room capacity size. So we’ll be asking for two of those tests in-person and then we’ll have two additional online test opportunities, which is a new feature in offering tests. We got to really have a sense of urgency around recruiting because retentions continue to be a challenge as we go forward. Thank you also very much.

Speaker 17: (28:35)
Just on the W real quick. You said the gun was in, I think you said, “Precarious position.” Can you explain what that… I don’t know if that was your precise words? But you said-

David Brown: (28:43)
It was.

Speaker 17: (28:44)
Can you tell us what [crosstalk 00:28:45].

David Brown: (28:45)
In the window seal. I think we said that. In the window seal. I think we said that. Yes.

Speaker 18: (28:49)
Was it pointed in any direction or just in the window-

David Brown: (28:53)
Laying in the windows seal.

Speaker 18: (28:54)
Thank you.

David Brown: (28:55)
Thank you all so much. Thank you.

Speaker 18: (28:56)
Thank you.

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