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Donald Trump has threatened on Twitter to "send in the feds" if Chicago officials don't "fix" the alleged "carnage" going on the city.
The president did not elaborate on his Tuesday night tweet, in which he claimed there have been 228 shootings in Chicago in 2017, 42 of which were fatal.
The numbers he cited — and the word "carnage" — appeared on the Fox News program "The O’Reilly Factor" earlier in the evening.
Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told NBC News Tuesday night that there have been 38 murders and 182 shooting incidents this year, slightly lower than Trump's numbers. Nevertheless, 2016 was one of the bloodiest years in Chicago since the 1990s.
Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has said that weak penalties for those convicted of crimes involving guns are partially to blame for the city’s homicide rate, which rose to 762 murders in 2016.
Breaking News Emails
“The Chicago Police Department is more than willing to work with the federal government to build on our partnerships with DOJ, FBI, DEA and ATF and boost federal prosecution rates for gun crimes in Chicago,” Johnson said in a statement.
Trump repeatedly invoked Chicago’s violent crime rate while on the campaign trail, and pledged to fix crime in what he called America's "inner cities." Some critics said his portrayal of life in African-American neighborhoods was based on stereotypes rather than reality.
Trump in his inauguration speech also referred to crime and gangs — along with poverty and poor education — and pledged, "This American carnage stops right here and stops right now."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Monday spoke out about Trump’s stated support for stop-and-frisk policing.
"We need our police to have high professional standards, the training to support them in those high professional standards and the certainty to be proactively involved," Emanuel said, according to NBC Chicago. "If you look at the last year across the country and then say, ‘The only answer is to go to stop-and-frisk. That's it,' that’s not where the world is today."
The Rev. Jesse Jackson, a prominent civil rights activist, tweeted after Trump's comments Tuesday night, "We need a plan, not a threat."
Chicago city officials said they have already started working with the federal government on reforms to the police force, after the Justice Department on Jan. 13 released a report that documented years of systemic civil rights violations by the police department.