Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical Left and Islamic terrorism.
1,120 people have been shot this year in Chicago and 282 people have been murdered. Yesterday, four people were shot and killed in four hours in just another Wednesday.
Good thing the city has “peace circles”.
Police defunders have been tasked with coming up with “restorative justice” alternatives to the three P’s, police, prosecutors, and prisons, that ask criminals to apologize to their victims.
That’s the principle of the “peace circle” in which the thug meets with his victim, says “sorry” and then leaves a free man to shoot, stab, or kill.
Chicago’s pro-crime politicians eagerly embraced “peace circles”. There are peace circles in schools and a whole lot of “trained facilitators” have hung up their shingles. While pro-crime activists claim that peace circles come from Indian culture, they’re actually one of the stupidly disastrous ideas promoted by Howard Zehr, a white leftist who went to a black college on a minority scholarship, and helped inflict the concept of “restrorative justice” on the country.
The Circuit Court of Cook County has a salaried Restorative Justice Community Court Peace Circle Keeper. And dangerous criminals keep being diverted from prison to peace circles.
That’s what happened when cops caught Ojani Cruz with a gun during a traffic stop. Prosecutors wanted him locked up, but one judge let him out on his own recognizance while another sent him to have his arrest record expunged at a peace circle.
“They say, ‘Peace, peace’, when there is no peace,” Jeremiah prophesied.
A month after being enrolled in the peace circle treatment, Cruz opened fire on a couple sitting in a minivan. He “circled the vehicle” and “kept firing until he ran out of bullets”. When it was all over, a 20-year-old woman was shot in the back and left paralyzed from the waist down.
Prosecutors have charged Cruz with first degree murder and the judge denied bail, but it’s too little too late. Had the justice system been allowed to do its job, Cruz would have been locked up. But instead Chicago’s restorative justice and peace circles claimed another victim.
“We cannot prosecute our way out of the kinds of crimes,” Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans falsely claimed. “People who hurt people have generally been hurt themselves.”
Evans, a Chicago alderman for nearly two decades, has spent another disastrous three decades on the Cook County bench, and even Democrat officials have had enough.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot blasted Evans for “making Chicago neighborhoods less safe.”
“There is no dispute that people charged with murder and other crimes of violence are out in communities with zero supervision, both adults and juveniles.”
Klevontaye White was let loose with nothing more than an ankle monitor after 15 counts of aggravated sex assault with a firearm, he cut off his bracelet and then engaged in a shootout with police. The police didn’t bring their peace pipes. They shot back and won the fight.
And Newsweek put Klevontaye on its list of “black people killed by police”.
7-year-old Jaslyn Adams was shot and killed at a McDonald’s by a group of thugs, one of whom had been out with an ankle monitor despite being accused of robbery, manufacturing/delivery of cocaine, and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. This has become typical of Chicago’s pro-crime policies where even the worst monsters can freely walk the streets.
“I have about 100 people on home monitoring who are charged with murder,” Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said.
“Two brothers who murdered a person 11 bullets into them, in front of witnesses,” Lightfoot argued. “And at least one of them was out on another gun charge, on electronic monitoring. This isn’t working. We need to have trials and we need to put dangerous people behind bars so that the community is actually safe.”
But Judge Evans still loves peace circles and restorative justice for violent thugs. “We thought, if somebody is on drugs or stealing television sets or cell phones or whatever it was, all we had to do was arrest them, prosecute them, convict them and send them to jail,” he rambled.
Now Evans preaches the gospel of freeing as many criminals as possible.
In 2021, Cook County had the most murders in almost 30 years. In May 2022 it was reported that downtown shootings were up 64%.
“This is just the start,” Evans announced to cheers, while opening a “restorative justice” court. “Englewood, we are on our way! Roseland, we are on our way!”
It was more of a threat than a promise.
Englewood has racked up 23 murders and 102 wounded this year. Roseland is lagging behind with 6 murders and only 29 wounded.
The peace circles keep growing and people keep dying because the justice system in Chicago, like those in cities where pro-crime policies prevail, stands on the side of the criminals.
Judge Evans claimed that in the new system, “we are focusing on punishment, but on healing”.
But there’s no healing for the family of Jaslyn Adams, for the woman shot and paralyzed for life by a peace circle alum, or any of the other victims being protected by the peace circles.
In Chicago, there’s no peace for the people, only for the politicians and the criminals, who are often one and the same.
Judge Patricia Spratt, who presides over the North Lawndale Restorative Justice Community Court, said that the court is about “repairing harm. Not being retributive and sending you to jail”.
How will Chicago’s pro-crime judges repair the harm they have caused to crime victims?
It’ll take a hell of a peace circle to raise the dead.