Chicago police Superintendent Eddie Johnson fired a full-throated defense of a controversial city database at the county’s public defender Thursday, saying an online listing of alleged gun offenders offers a legally protected and “good and transparent practice”.
In a five-page letter, Johnson repurposed language used by public defender Amy Campanelli this week to denounce the Police Department’s use of a web-based “Gun Offender Dashboard” to publicize court files of adults charged with firearms crimes in Cook County.
Campanelli said she was “deeply troubled” by the department website, which aims to document who is arrested on suspicion of gun crimes, the specific charge and whether they posted a full cash bond, 10% of that amount or were released without posting any money. She called for the website’s immediate removal, describing it as a “red herring” meant to distract the public from the Police Department’s inability to arrest shooters who contribute to city violence.
“Albeit for very different reasons, you and I are both deeply troubled by the information contained in CPD’s Gun Offender Dashboard,” Johnson retorted in a letter to Campanelli.
“When I review the Gun Offender Dashboard, I am deeply troubled because after 31 years of service as a Chicago Police Officer, I know personally and professionally the fear, suffering and pain that gun offenders who carry firearms with impunity can bring to communities across Chicago,” the superintendent wrote.
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