In Chicago, Sounds Are Racist

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

The fragile, grossly incompetent former union toadie currently finishing off what was left of the city of Chicago after being elected mayor - Brandon Johnson - has made another decision fulfilling a campaign promise: canceling the city's contract with ShotSpotter.

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Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Tuesday that he won’t renew the city’s controversial contract with ShotSpotter, making good on a key campaign promise to do away with the gunshot detection system that has come under heavy fire for allegedly being overly costly and ineffective.

...While Johnson had publicly remained tight-lipped about his plans for ShotSpotter since taking office, he vowed to nix the deal as a mayoral candidate and “invest in new resources that go after illegal guns without physically stopping and frisking Chicagoans on the street.”

He insisted the technology is “unreliable and overly susceptible to human error,” adding that it “played a pivotal role” in the fatal police shooting of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in March 2021.

Many of those concerns were reiterated by critics of ShotSpotter, who frame it as a costly surveillance tool that has led to overpolicing in minority communities. Proponents argue it’s a lifesaving resource that gives cops another much-needed tool to respond to gun violence.

ShotSpotter is a system of acoustic microphones mounted on poles (accompanied in some confirmed high crime areas by cameras) that alert police to the location of suspected gunfire. It does have its problems, also being susceptible to identifying explosive car backfires and the like as weapon discharges, but overall, the police are happy to have the assistance (They are quite adamant about that.)

Supposedly, according to community activists and progressive mouthpieces, the black community in Chicago is not nearly as enthusiastic, for all the carnage on the streets there. They feel it brings more police to their neighborhoods and the potential for more police shootings and harassment of residents.

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In other words, the mics picking up probable gunfire from these neighborhoods, causing a police response, is racist in itself. 

...Johnson’s decision was greeted with acclaim from his grassroots base that had kept up a steady drumbeat of pressure for him to cancel the contract, but the City Council’s more moderate wing expressed apprehension on how its absence will impact gun violence response times.

...It was not immediately clear what will supplant the acoustic sensors that are mounted on light poles throughout much of the South and West sides to alert police about the location of suspected gunfire.

...ShotSpotter gained special notoriety among Chicago activists in 2021, when a gunshot alert from a street in Little Village sent responding police running after 13-year-old Adam Toledo. An officer fatally shot Toledo during the chase.

...The #StopShotSpotter grassroots campaign also weighed in on the years-in-the-making victory, saying the “racist deployment” of the technology has harmed Chicagoans and warning the Police Department against replacing it with any similar devices.

“The use of this technology has been a failed and harmful experiment used to harass and racially profile Chicagoans,” the statement read.

Residents prefer to live in the Chicago version of the old philosophical puzzler: When shots are fired, without the mics on poles, would anyone care?

You may have noticed a common thread running through all the stories so far when objections are raised disparaging ShotSpotter - 13-year-old Adam Toledo's death at the hands of police who were responding to a ShotSpotter alert. Like this alderman's version here:

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...Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), a Johnson ally and ShotSpotter opponent, credited the mayor “for keeping his campaign promise” while lauding organizers “whose advocacy made today’s sound public safety decision possible.”

“Research has shown that ShotSpotter’s technology does not lead to a reduction in violent crime or gun-related homicides. What it does do is significantly alter police response to ShotSpotter incidents,” Ramirez-Rosa said in a statement. “The tragic killing of Adam Toledo underscored how ShotSpotter harmfully escalates police violence in our communities.”

Those darn things on poles "escalate police violence" in the communities. Nothing about the violence already IN those communities.

In the brief sentences that reference the "police shooting" or, as above, "tragic killing" of the teenager, nowhere - NOWHERE - are the circumstances ever mentioned. Because, if they are, little Adan Toledo is no longer a martyr for the progressive cause.


The teen was shot at 2:39 a.m. (!) as he turned towards the officer pursuing him with a gun visible in his hand on the officer's body cam footage. He'd spent the early morning hours firing at passing cars with friends. You know, zero-dark-thirty kid stuff. 

Surprise - even the national media was willing to help perpetuate the narrative of a young innocent slaughtered on the street by rogue, racist officers. CBS helpfully cropped out the part of the video where the gun was still in the lad's paw. The officer was firing as the kid heaved and raised his hands.

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Hands up (don't shoot) is the image the media made sure the world saw.

Racist ShotSpotter caused it all by hearing the shots. Terrible technology.

As for "black and brown communities," it turns out the residents and their aldermen from many of the same are saying, "ShotSpotter SAVES LIVES!" WHUT? And they are smokin' hot about the mayor's sop to progressives. It seems no one had asked them what they thought about sanctuary cities, and now racist microphones on poles. Someone from the city government probably should have. 

Especially when one considers the city is catastrophically short of police in the first place.


There's also going to be a good deal of pushback from these same residents when they realize that, while their safety may be forfeit to progressive goals, the safety of delegates to the Democratic Convention in Chicago this summer is not. Johnson may be stupid but he's not totally crazy. His plans are to extend the contract through September.

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You know - until all the party bigwigs and press have made it out of town in one piece.

Mayor Brandon Johnson announced Tuesday that he won’t renew the city’s controversial contract with ShotSpotter, making good on a key campaign promise to do away with the gunshot detection system that has come under heavy fire for allegedly being overly costly and ineffective.

After the Sun-Times reported on the decision earlier in the day, Johnson’s office issued a statement saying the city “will decommission the use of ShotSpotter technology on September 22,” meaning cops will have access to the system throughout the historically violent summer months and the Democratic National Convention.

HISTORICALLY VIOLENT SUMMER MONTHS

Well, there's a "Visit Chicago" jingo if I ever heard one. 

ShotSpotter's contract is due to expire *checks watch* tomorrow, the 16th. Johnson has announced he has no intention of renewing it, but wants to extend it at his convenience - racist as it is - to cover his asterisk for the convention.

BEEGE LIFE ADVICE: Sometimes you need to plan your CYA well and schmaybe tone down the rhetoric before you light the det cord.

I mean, what happens when it turns out you were so rude that people don't want to dance with you?

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Oops. ShotSpotter no longer wants to dance with the mayor!

They're going to sit this one out...and watch him squirm. HAH.

Black and brown communities who were already seething are going to lose their cookies on this guy.

This is delicious.

Man - did Chicagoans ever, EVER get what they voted for. 

Johnson is the gag-tastic gift that keeps on giving.


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