Tag Archives: murders

Eddie Johnson with Big John and Ray:  More cops just “a piece of the puzzle.”

By John Dempsey, WLS-AM News

(CHICAGO) Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was on WLS this morning, talking about Mayor Emanuel’s multi-faceted crime-fighting strategy.    Johnson told “The Big John and Ray Show” that he agrees with Emanuel that while the city  more needs police officers , police are not the only answer.   “You know these extra officers and the police in general, you know we’re a piece of this puzzle but not the entire puzzle. The violence in our city and the crime overall is a result of socio-economic ills , not the police department.  So we have to fix the other parts of it in order for this crime to come down, but I will say this, the additional officers will give us a bit of relief.”

Listen to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on WLS’ Big John and Ray Show here. 

In his long awaited crime control speech Thursday night, Emanuel pledged to hire more officers, but was not clear on how the city would pay for them.    Johnson told WLS he does not have that answer either, but he says he’s not supposed to.    “You know, I fight crime” Johnson said,  “At the end of the day you know, I am a cop.  So that’s what I do, so the financial part of it you know, I’ll leave it to the Mayor and his smart people over there at the hall.  He has assured me that we’ll have those resources but how they’re paying for it, I couldn’t tell you.”

In his speech at Malcolm X college, Emanuel also talked about implementing a three year mentoring program to provide support to over 7,000 at-risk youth in Chicago.   The Mayor also called on Illinois lawmakers to toughen penalties for gun crimes, something black lawmakers from Chicago have thwarted in the past, out of concern that harsher gun laws would unfairly target African-Americans.

Eddie Johnson told WLS he is currently talking with those lawmakers about drafting a law that would address the real need the city has to make sure repeat offenders are kept behind bars for longer periods of time.    “I think that the legislators are coming around now because before we didn’t have concealed carry and you know the sentencing that I’m looking for is not mandatory.  It’s focused at repeat gun offenders so that’s not casting a net over the minority population.  It’s more like using a spear to focus on the guys that are consistently telling us they don’t want to play by the rules of society.   The way we want it to go is that repeat gun offenders would be sentenced on the mid to high end range of sentencing as opposed to giving them lighter sentences.”

During the WLS interview, Johnson admitted that police morale has suffered in recent months.    “We swore an oath to protect the citizens of Chicago and I see the rank and file doing that, however I will say this; the level of disrespect and then just the scrutiny going on across the country in terms of law enforcement is tough.  They are keenly aware of that and no one wants to be the next viral video and let’s face facts.   They’re human, they have families to take care of and careers so they are aware of what’s going on but they are still engaged and our gun arrests bear that out, but they are concerned about what’s going on.”

Johnson ended the interview by saying he has no regrets about taking the Superintendent’s job, despite the pressure and stress.   “You know I enjoy my job.  I have a chance to make real change and impact the citizens of Chicago for the better and also the rank and file, so I love what I do.”

@ 2016 WLS-AM News


Chicago passes 2015 murder total with 4 months left in 2016

(CHICAGO) Chicago ticked past a pair of grim milestones as August passed into September. Chicago Police said 90 people were murdered in the city in August. A few hours into Sept. 1, the total number of murders in 2016 reached 469, exceeding the tally for all of last year.

The number of murders in August was the most in a single month during an already bloody year, and the most in a one-month span in 20 years, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.

Year-to-date, the city has endured a 50 percent increase in murders and a similar spike in other categories of violent crime, while also grappling with public furor over police tactics following the release last year of video of a CPD officer pumping 16 bullets into teenager Laquan McDonald.

August also saw the city’s crime troubles receiving national attention. While other large cities have notched significant surges in violence, the 50 percent increase in shootings and murders in Chicago was an outlier. Numerous news reports have noted that the number of murders in Chicago is greater than the total for New York City and Los Angeles combined.

After Chicago-based rap star and one-time aldermanic candidate Che “Rhymefest” Smith was robbed at gunpoint last Saturday morning, he issued a harsh critique of the police officers who took his report to his Twitter followers.

The day before Rhymefest was robbed, Nykea Aldridge, a cousin of Bulls star Dwyane Wade, became one of the few murder victims in the city to garner attention outside the city when Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, observed in a tweet that her death was a reason for African-Americans to vote for him.

As the long Labor Day weekend loomed, the police union urged members to turn down holiday overtime and stay home, and Gov. Bruce Rauner deflected calls from activists that he should send the National Guard into the city to tamp down violence.

Spencer Leak Sr. said he is only dimly aware of the news or statistics as he goes about his work, but to his staff and clients at Leak & Sons Funeral Home in Chatham, it is clear that something is going wrong on the streets of Chicago.

The business, founded by Leak’s father in 1933, has always drawn clients from the adjacent neighborhoods of Lawndale and Englewood, areas that have seen a disproportionate share of the city’s homicides.

“It takes a toll, physically and emotionally, when you are seeing so many beautiful, young black men and women that you are working on,” Leak said Thursday. “My philosophy is not to count the families that come to our funeral home. I leave that to accountants. We just say that it is too many, and that something must be done about it.”

CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi noted several positive trends in the year-to-year comparison of 2016 and 2015: There were nearly 20 percent more murder arrests this August than last, and CPD officers have taken 5,900 guns off the street through seizures and gun buy-back events, a 22 percent increase.

“That tells me that the police officers that have sworn to protect and serve are doing their jobs,” CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson said during one of several interviews with local TV stations on Thursday.

Returning to themes that the police chief has sounded in virtually every public appearance since he was appointed to the post earlier this year, Johnson said that a relative handful of repeat offenders drive most of the violence, and he called for longer prison sentences to keep them off the streets.

“Where we need help is holding these repeat gun offenders accountable for their actions,” Johnson said. “Right now in the city of Chicago, would you believe me if I told you, pre-trial, a person who steals a pack of hot dogs for retail theft does more time in jail than a gun offender does. That’s ridiculous.”

Police review videos in search for clues in Gage Park killings

(CHICAGO) Chicago Police are reviewing security videos taken on CTA buses and have downloaded video from a camera on a light pole at 57th and California for evidence that might lead to the killer of a family of six in Gage Park, a department spokesman said Tuesday.

Detectives routinely look for video surveillance for potential leads in killings, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said. “This isn’t anything unusual,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

On Thursday, Maria Herminia Martinez, 32, was found shot to death in her home. Her sons, Leonardo Cruz, 13, and Alexis Cruz, 10, died of “sharp force” injuries.

The boys’ grandfather, Noe Martinez Sr., 62, also died of sharp force injuries, and his wife Rosaura, 58, and their son, Noe Martinez Jr., 38, died of a combination of sharp and blunt force injuries, the medical examiner’s office said.

Police said the family was “targeted” but have not provided a motive. The doors were locked, nothing was taken, and the house wasn’t ransacked, police said.

The house in the 5700 block of South California is a few doors from the light-pole camera.

The bodies were discovered in what police called “a bloody mess” after a co-worker called 911 to report that Noe Martinez Jr. hadn’t shown up for his job washing windows at O’Hare Airport for the previous two days.