Chicago Alderman Bandwagons with Anti-Police Activists
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa is entrenched in the anti-police society
By the time Chicago Police Department officials were able to reconstruct events which led to the shooting death of Michael Bankston III in Logan Square, investigators concluded Bankston died while carrying out an act of humanitarianism.
On September 17, 2021, the 25-year-old Bankston attempted to intervene in a quarrel between a man and a woman at 2662 North Milwaukee Avenue. Witnessing Jesus Garcia assault a female, Bankston approached Garcia and the woman to inquire over Garcia’s companion’s condition. As the exchange between Bankston and Garcia became heated, Garcia then brandished a handgun and fired at Garcia. Attempting to flee, Bankston was struck several more times and later died from his wounds.
Although a Cook County Public Defender valiantly attempted to portray Garcia as suffering a “mental health episode,” he was, surprisingly, charged with first-degree murder and held without bail. A crime of almost indescribable brutality, in response to Bankston’s death, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa sponsored and guided a resolution through the City Council renaming a section of Wrightwood Avenue in Bankston’s honor.
A peculiar reaction to a homicide in the ward he represents, in Ramirez-Rosa’s two terms in the Chicago City Council, violent crime has been on the upswing there since he was voted into office in 2015. Though the 35th Ward had struggled with crime prior to 2000, residents say crime waned under former Alderman Rey Colon, who served three terms before being ousted nearly eight years ago. According to residents, Alderman Ramirez-Rosa’s fiery, anti-police rhetoric is partly to blame for an increase in a range of crimes committed in his ward.
In the eight-year period since Ramirez-Rosa assumed office in 2015, homicides have more than doubled in the 35th Ward. Between 2010 and 2014, the 35th Ward suffered 16 total homicides. Since Ramirez-Rosa was elected alderman, his jurisdiction has experienced 32 homicides. A staggering increase, the nightmare endured by 35th Ward residents is not limited to murder: Since becoming alderman, the 35th Ward has sustained an astonishing increase in sexual assaults, from only one in 2015 to 20 in 2021.
Arrests for weapons violations are equally startling: In 2015, the ward saw eight arrests in 2015 jump to over 60 in 2022.
To boot, another concern is brewing on the horizon in the 35th Ward: Gang crime. According to residents, the Imperial Gangsters, Spanish Cobras, and the Famila Stones are making a comeback under Ramirez-Rosa. Gangs with the defining passion for extreme violence, the three brutish gangs are known for their involvement in the movement and distribution of drugs, particularly heroin.
With drug sales in urban areas always comes violence.
Remarkably, Ramirez-Rosa’s response to dramatic increases in crime and gangland murders has ranged from substantively weak to bumbling and outright ludicrous. Per his campaign website, Ramirez-Rosa’s solutions to violent crime include the installation of safety cameras at “hotspots.”
A euphemism for corners of his ward known for persistent violence, Ramirez-Rosa’s additional remedies to the crime overwhelming his ward comprise restorative justice courts — the granting forgiveness under pressure of the government — more police reform under the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability, and amending the “Welcoming City” ordinance, which blocked cooperation between Chicago law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.
Ramirez-Rosa also proudly declares his anti-crime efforts consist of “Walk Your Block” events. A feel-good ritual which does nothing to curtail crime, Ramirez-Rosa also crows about winning “historic investments” in crime reduction and youth programs, but avoids mentioning specifics at just about every turn. For Alderman Ramirez-Rosa, details do not matter so much as his desire to advertise the infusion of tax dollars to the 35th Ward.
A hype machine for Chicago’s anti-police movement, Ramirez-Rosa has repeatedly called for defunding police or outright abolition of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), and an end to prisons. Hardly a flirtation, Ramirez-Rosa’s anti-police stance is an obsession aimed at cementing an anti-police slant into the collective consciousness of 35th Ward residents.
The problem here is Mr. Ramirez-Rosa is an alderman and his excessive anti-police hysteria — the consistent claim Chicago police officers regularly engaged in misconduct, brutality, or racist policing — only fans the flames of anti-police delirium. Dissent against government and its policies is, of course, the right of Ramirez-Rosa, as is the alderman’s incessant public calls for community-driven options to traditional policing. However, Ramirez-Rosa’s unrelenting criticism and his unsubstantiated smears leveled at police have crossed a sacrosanct line separating mere criticism into an active effort to undermine the CPD’s battle against crime.
Baseless allegations against police, Ramirez-Rosa’s anti-police bombast and poisonous diction are sabotaging the rule of law and decreasing public respect for police officers. Though Mr. Ramirez-Rosa may believe it is jolly good fun to undercut a vital institution of social authority, the consequences of his public remarks have been staggering: It has led to an erosion of police authority, less proactive policing, higher rates of crime — gun violence in particular — and disorder in his ward.
Ramirez-Rosa’s campaign to malign Chicago police also suffers another flaw: It is entirely at odds with constituents in his ward. Surveys conducted reveal a majority of minority residents favor a strong police presence. More than anything else, minority residents are appealing for better exchanges with police, not the defunding or elimination of the Chicago Police Department. While every effort should be put forth to strengthen the fragmented relationship between police and residents, these crucial bonds of trust can only be mended and reinforced through a collective effort between police and citizens of good faith. For an undertaking of this magnitude to be accomplished favorably, it is fundamental elected officials set the example by rejecting egregious anti-police invective and anti-police politics. Alderman Ramirez-Rosa, however, has elected to play ball with anti-police agitators.
A new wave of crime is washing over the 35th Ward. Yet as the 35th Ward lies on the cusp of being devastated by violence, Alderman Ramirez-Rosa prefers to allow the neighborhood to be besieged by crime and both the the flow of drugs and illegal weapons. A man who is part of the anti-police protest culture, instead of declining to associate himself with an alliance of radical activists and politicians eager to make police scapegoats, Ramirez-Rosa is using his official position to create obnoxious hoopla around police behavior. For residents concerned with crime, Ramirez-Rosa expects them to swallow their anxieties and keep their objections to themselves.
Countless lives are saved every year by vigilant policing, innovative anti-crime strategies and the assistance of technology. For Ramirez-Rosa to suggest systemic racism is characteristic of CPD and to constantly undermine confidence in officers is disgraceful. Far from defunding or abolishing police, the City of Chicago requires more police and more vigilant policing. For officers to mount a successful crusade to thwart crime, it is mandatory Chicago police officers have full confidence political leaders will support their mission on the streets.
Neither residents of the 35th Ward nor Chicago police officers should expect Alderman Ramirez-Rosa to change his position on police anytime soon. To Ramirez-Rosa, joining the chorus of anti-police activists and working against Chicago law enforcement is a preferred strategy entirely in tune with his Marxist ideals.
Instead of lending a hand to police to prevent the next homicide in the 35th Ward, Ramirez-Rosa would prefer just to memorialize the next murder victim with a street sign.