Two elected officials who represent areas of the West Side have proposed a series of county and city ordinances in the wake of the city’s rash of gun violence, and several high-profile police misconduct cases, that have lingered into 2016.
Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), whose district encompasses a large swath of the West Side, proposed at a Jan. 13 county board meeting an ordinance that would require gun owners to carry liability insurance coverage before purchasing a firearm. The fines for anyone who violates the proposed measure would range between $2,500 and $5,000.
“Twelve days into 2016, more than 100 people have been shot in Chicago. As the violence continues unabated in the new year, I strongly believe we must exhaust all policy options and work tirelessly to curb the scourge of gun violence our communities,” Boykin noted in a statement released the day he introduced the proposed ordinance.
“By requiring gun buyers to be covered by liability insurance, we will help save lives and ensure that the victims of gun violence are justly compensated when crimes occur,” he stated.
Boykin said service members and law enforcement officers would be exempt from the regulation, which he believes will “incentivize firearm owners to take the proper precautions to safely store and use their weapons.”
At a Jan. 13 Chicago City Council meeting, Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) introduced four ordinances designed to mitigate police misconduct and officer-involved gun violence, and to compensate the family of Bettie Jones. The 55-year-old West Garfield Park mother of five was killed by a Chicago Police officer on Dec. 26 in what the department has described as an “accident.” According to media reports, the officer who shot Jones and LeGrier is three-year officer Robert Rialmo.
One ordinance introduced by Ervin would require superintendent of police to release any video recordings “to interested persons within 14 days of their request unless prohibited by law,” according to a statement Ervin released on the matter.
Two other proposed ordinances would raise the Chicago Police Department’s mandatory age of retirement to 67.5 and require department to supply Tasers, along with training on how to use them, to all officers.
The last ordinance Ervin introduced encourages Mayor Rahm Emanuel and city attorneys to settle legal proceedings with the Jones family, who recently filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city. Jones was murdered along with 19-year-old Quintonio LeGrier, whose family also filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city.
“Our hearts go out to the families of the victims and the community where they made their home, but our sympathy is not enough. We must act in the aftermath of this debacle to restore trust and to prevent such a tragedy from ever occurring again,” Ervin noted.
County approves Homan Square resolution
Last week, the Cook County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution urging the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the controversial North Lawndale detention facility known as Homan Square.
Commissioner Richard Boykin (1st), who represents much of the West Side, introduced the resolution in the wake of a February 2015 Guardian report on the facility. U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (7th) has also been a vocal proponent of the
Boykin told the Chicago Reader that he plans on personally delivering a copy of the resolution to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
“I was going to get it done one way or another,” he told the Reader. “I was confident we had at least nine votes willing to support an inquiry.”