Sessions denounces 'unacceptable' levels of violence in Chicago

Sessions denounces 'unacceptable' levels of violence in Chicago
© Greg Nash

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat House passes concealed carry gun bill Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee next week MORE on Friday condemned "unacceptable" levels of violence in Chicago in a statement released by the Justice Department.

The strongly worded statement from the Justice Department outlines steps the agency will take in coming days to curb the violence.

"No child in America should have to walk the streets of their neighborhood in fear of violent criminals, and yet, in Chicago, thousands of children do every day," Sessions wrote.

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"Last year, more than 4,300 Chicagoans were shot, and more than 700 were killed—the deadliest year in two decades.”

The agency will send 24 more agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). according to the statement.

"Under President Trump's strong leadership, we have created the Chicago Gun Strike Force and are sending 20 more permanent ATF agents to Chicago," it reads.

"Reallocating federal prosecutors and prioritizing prosecutions to reduce gun violence, and working with our law enforcement partners to stop the lawlessness.”

Sessions goes on to praise Trump for his renewed focus on law and order.

“I want to commend the President for his commitment to enforcing our laws and keeping our communities safe.”

In the statement, the Justice Department renewed its fight against so-called sanctuary cities, which refuse to comply with federal immigration officials.  

"So-called 'sanctuary' policies tie the hands of law enforcement by rejecting common sense and undermining federal laws that would remove criminal, illegal aliens from the streets and remove them from this country," Sessions writes.

"These policies are opposed by some 80 percent of the American people because they endanger us all by letting dangerous criminals stay in this country that are due to be removed.”

The Justice Department's statement follows a tweet early Friday morning from Trump, which revealed Trump was sending "federal help" to stop the violence in Chicago.

In a statement to The Hill, Chicago mayor's office spokesman Adam Collins said, "Six months ago we made it clear that we would welcome additional federal support, and six months later we appreciate the 20 new ATF agents that are now arriving."

"If the president was as interested in taking action on public safety as he is in Tweeting about it, we would have seen these resources months ago. The progress CPD has made this year has happened without any of the new resources from the federal government we requested," Collins said.

Chicago police also issued a statement on Twitter, pointing to a 14 percent decrease in shootings so far this year.

There have been 320 murders in Chicago so far this year. Chicago experienced 760 killings in 2016, making it the deadliest year in the city in 20 years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.