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County Commissioner Wants "Gun Violence Czar" To Coordinate Crime Reduction Efforts

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A Cook County Commissioner has proposed the county appoint a "gun violence czar" as a new tool to stem the tide of violent crime in the Chicago area.

Commissioner Richard Boykin (D-1st) stood outside the Cook County Medical Examiner's office Thursday morning, noting more than 80 percent of those killed by gun violence in the refrigerators behind him are African American, but make up just 25 percent of the county's population.

"This data is shockingly amazing; cannot help but beg the question of do black lives really matter?" he said. "It becomes painfully clear that this is quite literally an endangered population."

According to Boykin, the time has come for a "gun violence czar" to coordinate efforts between the Chicago Police Department, Cook County Sheriff's Department, and other law enforcement agencies; someone who could knock down jurisdictional and political barriers.

"This czar would be able to bring people together. The mayor has not spoken to Sheriff Tom Dart in four years. That is unheard of," he said. "How can you be serious about reducing violent crime in Chicago if you don't even speak to the chief law enforcement officer for Cook County in four years?"


Earlier this month, Dart told Crain's Chicago Business he and the mayor have not spoken in four years. Dart seriously considered running for mayor in 2011, but decided against a bid for City Hall a few weeks after Emanuel left his job as President Obama's chief of staff to run for mayor. At the time, Dart said the timing was not right for him and his family.

Boykin suggested perhaps Archbishop Blase Cupich could put everyone in a room, lock the door, and not let them out until they accomplish something.

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