On Monday night, Chicago police officers shot and wounded two people--including a 13-year-old boy who reportedly had a BB gun. On Tuesday night, an off-duty officer shot and wounded a man who allegedly tried opening the door of his squad car while reaching into his waistband. Last week, five police-involved shootings were reported in only 72 hours. Two officers were wounded, and one man was killed by officers.
So far this year, police-related shootings and fatalities are on the rise. Already, officers have shot 42 suspects, 16 fatally, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. In 2010, 46 people were shot by police, 13 fatally.
“A lot of these guys feel they got nothing to lose, so they’re willing to go up against the police or anybody,” CeaseFire's Tio Hardiman told CBS Chicago. CeaseFire is an organization that works with inner-city youth to resolve conflicts before they turn violent.
While former Chicago Police Superintendent Jody Weis was criticized by rank-and-file officers for not having the "backs" of officers in these situations, new top cop Garry McCarthy told CBS that the shootings have been justified--and that officers need to defend themselves.
"It's not the community versus the police," McCarthy said during a Tuesday press conference (Scroll down for video). "When we've got 13-year-old kids on the street late at night, whether it's a BB gun, a real gun or a replica firearm, that's a recipe for disaster."
While the 13-year-old's family told various media outlets that the boy stayed out of trouble, the police officer blog Second City Cop posted a photo of the child allegedly flashing gang signs.
Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden told the Sun-Times that police shootings were up because criminals are not afraid of the police anymore. The Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police-involved shootings, told the paper that there could be a number of reasons why these shootings are up:
The spike may be cyclical or there could be systemic causes — involving training or police policy — but it’s too early to tell without studying each shooting ... The agency investigates every police-involved shooting, even those that don’t include allegations of police misconduct, to determine whether there are any lessons to be drawn to make officers or the public safer...
Hardiman told the Sun-Times that the department needs to do a better job of communicating with inner-city youth in order for this increasingly volatile situation to improve, but McCarthy said Tuesday that both police and residents need to help get guns off the streets.
"We all want safety and security in the community," McCarthy said. "We need the community's help to turn these things around."
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.