The Republican-controlled U.S. House Judiciary Committee held a “field hearing” in Chicago Tuesday morning to examine the rising crime rates in the Windy City.
The hearing, which was held at the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police hall, featured as panelists Gianno Caldwell, family member of a murder victim, Lt. John Garrido III, a retired detective with the Chicago Police Department (CPD), and Carlos Yanez, Jr., a retired officer with CPD. All of them agreed that the crime crisis was spurred by reckless left-wing policies.
Earlier this month, Illinois became the first state to abolish cash bail as part of the Pre-Trial Fairness Act. The law prevents judges from ordering people accused of crimes to pay money to get out of jail while awaiting trial. The law also implemented catch and release policies for police, and prevented them from arresting non-violent trespassers.
The new law is expected to exacerbate the already out-of-control crime situation in Chi-town. Crime rates in the city have been sky-rocketing in recent months with emboldened thugs robbing and assaulting residents with increased frequency.
According to ABC7 Chicago, “at least four more people were held up at gunpoint on sidewalks early Tuesday morning.”
The Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee zeroed in on State’s Attorney Kim Foxx ‘s soft-on-crime policies as a main cause of the lawlessness.
“Innocent people in Chicago are victimized by a justice system that cares more about political correctness than punishing the criminals who have harmed them and their families. For 11 years, 11 years, Chicago has led the country in homicides, and has only gotten worse under State’s Attorney Kim Foxx,” said House Judiciary Committee Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) in his opening statement. “According to an official report from the Chicago Police Department, crime in Chicago overall has increased during the last five years by nearly 20 percent. Theft is also a huge problem in Chicago, which saw an 114 percent increase in car thefts and the 32 percent increase in other steps between 2018 and 2022,” Jordan added.
The Ohio congressman cited recent shooting statistics in the crime-ridden city.
“Memorial Day Weekend started with eleven people killed and 53 others, including two toddlers wounded in shootings across the city,” he said. “Over Labor Day, ten were killed and 34 more were wounded, including a six-year-old boy struck by a bullet in his thigh while he was at his home.”
Another 30 individuals were shot just this past weekend, Jordan noted, adding that the rise in crime has come in the wake of attacks on police.
“In 2021, 76 Chicago police officers were shot in the line of duty,” he said. “Two officers, tragically, have already been killed this year.”
Jordan played a video montage highlighting the crime crisis in Chicago to illustrate “what left-wing policies have done.”
This is the Chicago crime crisis. pic.twitter.com/oi4nAYbYll
— House Judiciary GOP 🇺🇸 (@JudiciaryGOP) September 26, 2023
During his opening statement, retired officer Carlos Yanez Jr. recounted how he was shot five times and seriously injured by a repeat offender during a traffic stop in August of 2021. Yanez noted that the offender fired on him and his partner Ella French with an illegally purchased gun “with no remorse or hesitation,” killing his partner and friend outright.
“I was shot a total of five times, four which were in the head. I lost my right eye, some hearing in both ears. I also have tinnitus in my right ear, as well as partially paralyzed on the right side of my body,” Yanez said. “I almost didn’t survive my injuries,” he added.
Yanez testified that it had been his dream to be a Chicago Police officer since he was a little boy and he was proud to serve with Chicago’s finest, but liberal policies were preventing them from doing their jobs safely and were putting a target on their backs.
“With all the policies and procedures put into place, officers find themselves with their hands tied behind their back. Being an officer is stressful enough. But now it seems like there is a witch hunt after officers unnecessarily,” Yanez said, adding that his partner was posthumously disciplined for an allegedly improper search warrant.
“And the only thing she was seen doing on her body camera was assisting a woman,” he said. “This made me sick to my stomach. Corporate continues to serve suspensions days to officers like candy on Halloween,” Yanez added.
“Officers continue to lock up violent offenders, but we find them back on the street committing even more violent crimes, including murder,” he said.
Panelist Gianno Caldwell is all too familiar with those consequences. His teenaged brother Christian was shot down in the street when a group of men stepped out of a black SUV and randomly fired upon a crowd of people last year.
Caldwell noted that police told him his brother was not the target, he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He stressed that the liberal policies of Democrat politicians in Chicago and throughout the state were hurting mainly black residents.
“These officials have recklessly ignored the people they were elected to represent,” he said. “And as a result, bodies, mostly black bodies are littered throughout the streets of Chicago.” He said that the voices of the countless victims of violent crime in the city “scream out for justice.”
But the policies of officials like the Soros-funded DA and Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson have turned Chicago into “an active war zone,” Caldwell said.
“These elected officials have systematically endangered the lives of all Chicagoans, but especially those of color, the marginalized who they claim to care about,” he argued. “According to Chicago Police, African Americans, including my brother, made up 80 percent of the murder victims in Chicago in 2022. For the record, black people only make up 29 percent of the city’s population. We need help.”
Retired Chicago detective John Garrido testified that constant political interference of Democrat officials has had a severely “detrimental” impact on policing.
“In just the first 100 days since Mayor Johnson was sworn into office on May 15 2023, we’ve had over 200 homicides, 900 people have been shot, 2,500 robberies, 5,000 stolen cars, 2,000 burglaries, and 300 car-jackings,” he said. “Since January of 2020, almost 15,000 people have been shot in the city of Chicago and almost 3,000 have been murdered.”
Garrido pointed out that criminal mayhem in the Windy City has become so normalized, “those numbers aren’t even shocking to us anymore.”
He said CPD officers are resigning at alarming rates and the department is currently over 2,000 officers short.
The former detective also said that normally, two to three CPD officers take their own lives each year. “Last year, seven took their lives,” he said.
He appealed to Chicago voters to pay attention to who they are voting for and putting into office, because “elections have consequences” and “the consequences so far have been devastating.”
Far-left Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky reacted to the hearing in a statement: “What we are seeing right now is a total collapse of the proper operations of government on the part of the Republicans. So, what are the far-right extremists trying to do instead? Distract Americans from the fact that starting this weekend, hardworking federal employees will be forced to work without pay, head-start programs will close, and small business loan applications will come to a halt… They have no business being in Chicago discussing public safety.”
Foxx also released a statement blasting the Republicans: “As the nation is on the verge of a Republican sponsored government shutdown, Jim Jordan has chosen to come to Chicago rather than fulfill his obligations to his constituents. Instead of focusing on the victims of mass shootings caused by weak gun protection laws, including his own district, he has chosen to spend his time with John Catanzara-the man who in the immediate aftermath of January 6th, proclaimed it to be a peaceful protest. This behavior is not surprising, but it is alarming. Jim Jordan seeking to exploit the deaths of black and brown victims of crime, rather than supporting common sense gun legislation is in line with his continued hypocrisy and alignment with his party that’s beholden to a man currently facing 96 felony charges across 4 jurisdictions.”