Saying the Quiet Part Out Loud

On a related subject one headline-grabbing statement emerged from the Chicago mayoral candidates’ debate. Craig Wall remarks at ABC 7 Chicago:

During the ABC7 debate Wednesday night, the candidates pointed to safety concerns time and time again, with one candidate in the hot seat over his “tough on crime” comment.

The candidates talked a lot about crime with different ideas and approaches for how to tackle it. But it was Willie Wilson who raised some eyebrows and some ire with his comments about criminals needing to be hunted down like animals.

Wilson in his closing statement during the debate said if elected mayor he’ll remove the handcuffs on police officers so they are empowered to catch suspects fleeing to avoid arrest.

“Somebody run, chase somebody by foot or car, that police officer should be able to chase them down, and hunt them down like a rabbit, okay,” Wilson said.

Mayor Lightfoot pounced on the statement in a characteristic fashion:

“For a candidate for mayor to say that we ought to take the handcuffs off police and let them hunt down human beings like rabbits is an extraordinary thing,” Lightfoot said. “I fully and utterly condemn it.”

Meanwhile Mr. Wilson’s response to the mayor’s criticism was mild:

Wilson, who lost a 20-year-old son to murder, doubled down on his comment by accusing Mayor Lightfoot of trying to make something out of nothing.

“So I think the mayor done lost her mind. I really do. I think she’s out of touch,” Wilson said. “You know, if she wasn’t out of touch she would know she has to protect the people at all costs.”

Willie Wilson received a plurality of the votes of Chicago’s black voters in the last set of mayoral primaries three years ago. His popularity has only grown since then, spurred in part no just by frank statements but by his giving away free gas to people living on the South and West sides.

Maybe I’m reading the tealeaves wrong on this but I doubt Wilson will pay a penalty for saying what probably 80% of Chicagoans are thinking.

My own view is that more active policing is necessary but not sufficient. What is most necessary is for law enforcement, City Hall, the City Council, prosecutors, and the judiciary to all be rowing in the same direction. That will take some work and some time.

3 comments… add one
  • steve Link

    If the concern is homicide chasing people down just means catching the shooter(s), though in that case I bet they already do that. It certainly wont stop drive by shooting or the now common incident of two guys arguing over something then both pull guns and start shooting. (Whatever happened to an armed society is a polite society?)


  • Andy Link

    The decison to chase or not seems to be a microcosm of a larger issue with policing and criminal justice generally.

    I think your point at the end about rowing in the same direction is particularly important. It does little good if police chase and catch criminals if prosecutors don’t prosecute, for example.

  • TastyBits Link

    Apparently, Mr. Wilson is a right-winger, and he is just playing to the right-wing base. (I guess Chicago is a bastion of white supremacy.)

    I will say it again; the criminal’s rights are being placed ahead of the victim’s rights. To stop crime, you need to stop criminals. To stop criminals, you need to identify criminals. To identify criminals, you need to violate their rights. It is really that simple.

    Until a criminal commits a crime, most of what they are doing is legal. Illegally carrying a weapon is one exception, but since the illegal weapon is concealed, the only way to find out is by searching the person. To conduct a legal search, specific pre-conditions must be met, and it is not as easy as on TV.

    (Many voluntary searches are coerced, for criminals and non-criminals. Like a timeshare salesperson, legal high pressure tactics are applied until the person agrees.)

    Just to be clear, I do not like or trust the police. Most of them are not racist, but they are authoritarians. Everybody must obey legal orders, but nobody is required to respect them. Often, not displaying “proper” respect is where the trouble starts.

    In the mid-1980’s, I was a Deputy Sheriff in Orleans Parish. I was good at it, but I was just there for the paycheck. I tried not to fall into an authoritarian mindset, but it was hard. I mostly succeeded, but when I failed, there were older, more experienced persons to offer alternative ways of thinking.

    Back then, “making it through the shift alive” was not a thing. You really do not want that guy watching your back. Today, too many police officers are beta, and when they get scared, they attack. Alpha males/females do not get scared very easily, but they consider rules to be suggestions, more or less.

    (When a police officer pressures you into a voluntary search, remind him/her of the oath to uphold your Constitutional Right against unreasonable searches. Then, watch his/her head explode before beating the crap out of you.)

    I had a longer screed about searches, but for black victims, Black Lives DO NOT Matter.

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