Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson defended the department’s use of a secret watch list to track people deemed likely to get caught up in violence, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Johnson said the list is working because some people on it have accepted offers of social services after being approached by police and outreach workers. Johnson backed away from previous department statements that the list is used for “enforcement.” He added, “It’s not a list of target people.. It’s just a list that lets us know who would be more prone to gun violence — either by being a victim or a perpetrator. The individuals identified with the algorithm — we simply use it to go provide them and offer other pathways to get out of that lifestyle.” Johnson said the list is working because some people on it have accepted offers of social services after being approached by police and outreach workers.
Johnson has said that the list contained 1,400 people who were driving the violence in the city and that the department was “targeting” them. Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said the list doesn’t give officers a reason to arrest anyone. “There needs to be a violation of the law,” he said. Instead, the list is used as a tool to figure out where cops should be deployed in certain neighborhoods, he said. The Sun-Times has reported that the database includes nearly 400,000 people, a far more extensive list than what the police previously described.