* Sometimes, you just gotta charge ‘em and see where it goes…
Many aldermen are furious over the handling of a brazen gunfight in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood on Friday in which the suspects walked away without a single criminal charge being filed.
We entirely understand. In a city where authorities should be doing everything to quell a surge in violence, there’s a shoot-out like at the OK Corral, an entire block is endangered and several obvious suspects are detained.
And then nothing.
This was a shocking incident, even in a city that seems increasingly inured to daily violence, caught on video and described by one source as “just like the Wild West.” More than 70 shell casings were found, and many more shots likely were fired. Police apparently arrived in time to witness at least part of the shootout.
Who can blame anybody for asking: “If charges can’t be filed in a case like this, when can they?” […]
This page has long argued that criminal charges should be brought by police and prosecutors only when there is sufficient evidence to support a case. Too often in the past, cases have been built using torture, false confessions and the strangest stretching of the evidence. But the pendulum can’t be allowed to swing so far in the opposite direction that obvious suspects walk away from crime scenes with impunity.
False arrests and convictions have cost city taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. A more careful and just approach has been warranted, but this is ridic.
* Friday on CBS 2…
Today, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) explained how he recently experienced gun violence in Chicago first-hand.
“Last Saturday night, my wife and I went out to eat, downtown Chicago with another couple – several couples – and we were driving home on Lake Shore Drive. about 10:00 on Saturday night. I heard a popping sound,” said Durbin.
“I didn’t know what it was, the driver of the car said, ‘those are gunshots.’ It turned out to be the car next to us. The driver was leaning out the window and shooting into the air. He could have just as easily been shooting the gun at us. Sadly, that’s what happens way too often.”
Coincidentally, the senator was in town to announce federal funding to support gun violence and prevention research.
Senator, there’s been plenty of research. The feds need to stop with the press releases and deploy actual violence prevention programs in a robust and timely manner. Not all crime can be stopped, of course, but the government needs to do far more to prevent this stuff within the realities of whatever the US Supreme Court will allow.