As gun violence increased dramatically over the weekend – especially in Chicago – CNN did stories on Monday's CNN Newsroom, but they went soft on blaming Democrat mayors or suggesting they’re failing their citizens.
CNN’s Omar Jimenez – the one wrongly arrested in Minneapolis a few weeks back – used the official lingo of an “ecosystem of public safety” – that coronavirus had infected the police and first responders and made violence easier to commit.
Jimenez asked Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot a challenging question: “Compared to last year, shootings up 40 percent, homicides up 30 percent. So just point blank, what is happening right now?”
But she spread blame across a metaphorical “ecosystem,” not the city government. She wasn't taking any responsibility.
“All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult,” Lightfoot responded. “The ecosystem of public safety -- that isn’t just law enforcement but is local, community-based -- hey, too, have really been hit hard by COVID and are now just kind of coming back online and getting their footing.”
Jimenez didn’t have a follow-up question. He sadly concluded: “And what makes it almost doubly impactful in the worst way imaginable is many of these same communities that were being hit hardest by the coronavirus are also being hit hardest by gun violence.”
Then CNN turned to correspondent Shimon Prokupecz in New York. Just a month ago, he and CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin were celebrating “beautiful” protests against police brutality. There was no blame for New York Mayor Bill de Blasio as New York saw the worst violence in 25 years – 44 shootings and 12 homicides. Now maybe CNN's joy is coming up against governing reality:
PROKUPECZ: Now, the police commissioner this morning, he took to the airwaves. He spoke to local media saying that part of what's going on here is that people are not in jail.
People who should be in jail are now on the street in part because of the coronavirus, but also because of the laws here now in New York state and New York City, which is allowing a lot of criminals to remain on the street, even after they're arrested and they see a judge. It's basically saying that half the population of the notorious prison, that jail, Ryker's Island, half of the population is now out on the street and he's blaming some of that on the rise in violent crime.
The other thing just quickly, he notes that the police officers just don't feel supported. They're concerned given the rash of violence against some police officers, given some of the protests and some of the laws that a lot of police officers are worried they're going to wind up being arrested if they take certain type of action. And so that is -- as a result of that, they are being handcuffed. They are not performing as they would normally do. He's asking for local leaders to give support, and he's also asking for some changes to be made to the current laws.
[Hat tip: Nick Kangadis, Chicago native at MRCTV.]