CHICAGO (CBS) — David Brown slipped into Chicago’s top cop job in the middle of a pandemic.
One month in, CBS 2 Investigators are asking what he plans to do tackle the city’s continuing gun violence and enforce the city’s stay-at-home order.
CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey has more from Chicago Police Headquarters with Superintendent David Brown’s answers.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown talked about the challenges of waging two different wars simultaneously: making sure the public does its part to stop the spread of COVID-19, but also trying to battle the gun violence problem, which has been unphased by the pandemic.
“It’s been like drinking water from a fire hydrant.”
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said his one month on the job has felt like a year. It’s not hard to see why. He stepped into the job of Chicago’s 63rd police Superintendent in the middle of an unprecedented stay-at-home order, an order that thousands of Chicagoans have attempted to break.
As of this week, the CPD had ordered more than 8,000 dispersals, but written only 38 citations, and arrested just 23 people.
CBS 2 asked Brown why so few citations and arrests? And how serious is he about enforcing the order?
“I’m shocked by the fact that we’ve made any arrests. That you’re in jail for coming outside or promoting something that we’re trying to restrict,” Brown said.
Brown noted the citations and arrests are not his priority. A warning should be sufficient.
But he said it’s hard to strike the right balance, especially given Chicago’s persistent gun violence. Just three miles from the interview in Englewood, a 13-year-old boy was the unintended target of a bullet Thursday morning in Washington Park.
That shooting was one of 717 shootings that CPD has responded to so far this year.
“It’s unacceptably high,” he admitted.
And that’s up from 596 shootings during the same period last year, despite the stay-at-home order.
“The best explanation I can give is motives in the drug market, motives around gang conflicts. Those are the motives, but it’s not a good excuse for violence,” Brown said.
He’ speaking from personal experience. In 2010, his son, David Brown Jr. shot and killed two people; one of them a police officer before he was killed himself.
“I’m not the same person that I was before those tragedies,” Brown said. It changed me in a way that I believe Chicagoans will benefit from that I have a connection to the community because of what I’ve personally been through.”
The former Dallas Chief of Police brought violent crimes to historic lows before he retired in 2016. He said that through community policing, he will do the same here in Chicago.