Chicago Floods Streets With Cops After Trump Jibes

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Two days after President Donald Trump told a national television audience that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel needed to “smarten up and toughen up” on fighting gun violence, the mayor held a carefully orchestrated news conference to discuss Chicago’s “smart-policing strategy.” the Chicago Tribune reports. As Emanuel highlighted new police cameras and gunshot tracking technology, police were flooding the most violent neighborhoods with extra officers this weekend. Trump described Chicago’s rampant shootings as “horrible carnage” and “a problem that is very easily fixable.”

Hundreds of police officers assigned to tactical, gang, saturation, and mission teams had their regular days off canceled from Friday through Sunday. Beat officers were given the option of earning overtime by working weekend days off. Adding so many officers to the street on their day off is more typical during hot summer months or special occasions such as when the president is visiting the city; is unusual for a cold-weather month such as January. This month has been marked by weekends with dozens of shootings, including 54 people shot last weekend. Through Thursday, there were 42 homicides so far with five days left in the month. In January 2016, there were 50 homicides. If the number of killings for January were to come in lower than last year, that would allow Emanuel to counter Trump’s narrative of this year being off to a worse start. Emanuel’s press event came to an abrupt end when police Superintendent Eddie Johnson grew faint and had to be helped to a chair.  Johnson confirmed he’s had a kidney disease for more than 30 years and is on a list waiting for a transplant. (CBS Chicago today reported four murders over the weekend, lower than average.)

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