WASHINGTON — Chicago Police Supt. David Brown, after a White House meeting with President Joe Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland and other officials to discuss the president’s crime fighting strategies, said Garland made a “significant commitment” to help the city where he was born.
With Chicago battling unrelenting gun violence, Brown said Garland promised whatever the city needs from the Justice Department, “We would get those resources.”
Brown made a day trip from Chicago to the White House as Biden is emphasizing his crime-prevention plans and the extra money being pumped to local governments, including Chicago, from COVID relief bills that could be used to hire more police and pay for overtime.
You get that — Biden is for funding the police — not defunding the police.
The slogan “defund the police” embraced mostly by the far left nationally and in Chicago has been and continues to be used by Republicans and former President Donald Trump as a potent rallying cry against Democrats.
After the meeting, Brown and others who huddled with Biden and Garland talked to reporters outside the West Wing.
I asked Brown about Garland. When Garland was born, his parents lived near 79th Street and Jeffery Boulevard on the South Side. He grew up in north suburban Lincolnwood.
Brown said Garland mentioned his Chicago connection when they talked before Biden’s meeting. On June 23, Biden unveiled a comprehensive crime-fighting package. Chicago was one of five cities to get a federal “strike force” within a month, with a focus on gun trafficking.
It looks like some elements of the strike force will soon be announced. “We’ll be rolling out something in the coming days,” Brown said.
Garland, said Brown, pledged to “help out with Chicago and he offered whatever we needed from DOJ, we would get those resources,” whether it be the strike force or additional prosecutions or “fast-tracking investigations. So there was a significant commitment.”
Brown said Biden and Garland had a “sense of urgency” when it came to addressing Chicago’s violence and offering “what can we do now, adding resources now, to have an impact on violence in our city.”
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Except me pressing Brown about Chicago, many of the reporters were more interested in what Eric Adams had to say.
Adams is the former cop now the Brooklyn Borough president who last week won the New York City Democratic mayoral nomination beating candidates to his left. He’s been called the “Biden of Brooklyn.”
The front-runner to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio ran on a law-and-order platform. Adams can help — is already helping — Democrats define and take back the law-and-order slogan. The Republicans don’t own it.
Of note as Chicagoans demand more crimefighting in the city as Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Brown grapple with everything from carjackings to killings is that Adams is not calling automatically for the hiring of more cops.
His approach may help shape a better way for Democrats whether on the far left or more moderate to talk about policing and shedding the politically destructive defund the police slogan.
“One thing I’m clear about — the prerequisite to prosperity is public safety and justice,” said Adams, offering up a campaign-style mini-stemwinder to the uninitiated.
“And if we don’t have them both together, it doesn’t matter how many police officers you put on the street. We can’t continue to respond to symptoms; it’s time to respond to the underlying causes of violence in our city.
“This president is making it clear he’s going to redefine the ecosystem of public safety, and that includes identifying the role of police, schools, families, resources, employment. This is where we need to go as a country, and I have to take my hat off to this president. Why did it take so long before we heard the gunshots that families were listening to and hearing every night?”
Said Adams: “Other communities are waking up to alarm clocks; communities of Black, Brown and poor people are waking up to gunshots.”
Buttigieg hits Chicago on Friday
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg will be in Chicago on Friday, his first visit as a member of Biden’s Cabinet and as part of his drive to tout Biden’s infrastructure plan.
Freshman Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., led the Illinois congressional Democrats’ request for Buttigieg to tour various Chicago transportation projects. Newman and Rep. Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, D-Ill., are both on the House Transportation Committee.
The former South Bend mayor is no stranger to Chicago. He opened a South Loop satellite campaign headquarters for his 2020 presidential run and lived in the city twice — when he was in college, as a summer intern at NBC5 and then as a management consultant, when he rented a condo at 8 W. Monroe St.