Chicago is currently experiencing its highest January murder rate in "at least" 16 years, with a staggering 51 homicides recorded during the first month of 2016. The total number of shooting incidents also more than doubled from January 2015 to January of this year, ABC News reports. Chicago police addressed the dramatic spike in violence in a press release, admitting they "can't put a finger on" the source while bafflingly suggesting blame be placed on longer paperwork and a recently revitalized scrutiny of the department's practices.
"Even when they're doing something right, they're concerned that their actions will be questioned and they will be the one that goes viral," John Escalante, Chicago's interim police superintendent, tells ABC News. Escalante also tosses some blame in the direction of a new policy enacted this year that requires officers to fill out "lengthier forms" after making street stops, arguing that officers are too busy filling out the forms to make actual stops.
Of course, the nation's scrutiny surrounding the department probably stems from harrowing incidents like the recent police killing of Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones. Robert Rialmo, the officer who fatally shot LeGrier and Jones, is reportedly planning to sue LeGrier's family for "emotional distress."
The doubt surrounding the department's practices could also have something to do with the soul-crushing details surrounding their handling of the death of Laquan McDonald. In the middle of many alleging an apparent cover-up involving surveillance footage of the shooting death, a growing number of civil rights activists have demanded the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emaneul.
"I don’t see how [Emanuel] can continue governing now," Reverend Al Sharpton told MSNBC, as quoted by the Washington Times, shortly after the controversy surrounding Laquan McDonald's death started to spread. "I think he’s gone beyond the point where he can even govern. Certainly, from where I sit, he should [step down] because [the people] have clearly said 'How do we trust this kind of administration to correct when you have this going so far off track and you’re not even showing up and dealing with it?'"