“60 Minutes” Focuses on Chicago’s Deadly Year

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Illustration by Dave Conner via Flickr

Chicago’s struggles with gun violence again made national news Sunday night as CBS “60 Minutes” covered the city’s deadliest year in two decades, the Chicago Tribune reports. The program aired “Crisis in Chicago,” in which correspondent Bill Whitaker delves into the factors that have been driving Chicago’s surging number of shootings. The Tribune tallied at least 781 homicides for the year. The Chicago Police Department recorded 762 homicides, but did not include slayings on expressways, police-involved shootings, homicides in which a person was killed in self-defense or death investigations. For the six days that CBS visited Chicago, there were 55 shooting victims; 16 died from their wounds. Whitaker talked to former police superintendent Garry McCarthy about his firing after the Laquan McDonald shooting video’s release. “I don’t think it helped the situation,” McCarthy said when asked if he was a scapegoat. “And I think it’s a contributory factor to where we are today in Chicago. And if you want to call it scapegoat, that’s fine.” McCarthy said part of Chicago’s crime issue is that police officers feel “under attack.”

McCarthy’s successor, Eddie Johnson, tried to dispel the notion that police officers may be taking a more lax stance on crime because of recent scrutiny on policing practices. Instead, he offered that the drop in police stops was due to more stringent standards brought on by pressure from the American Civil Liberties Union. CBS News producer Guy Campanile, who accompanied Whitaker, declined when police asked him to wear a bulletproof vest while filming at night. “It bothered me that I had to wear body armor in an American city,” he said. “That really bothered me. We’re not talking about a Third World country. We’re not talking about some war zone in the Middle East. We’re talking about Chicago, Illinois.”


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