Posted on June 25, 2024

Chicago Is So Dangerous Its Progressive Mayor Has Launched a New Program to Pay Murder Victims’ Families

Joe Hutchison, Daily Mail, June 20, 2024

Chicago has suffered so many murders from gun violence that the city is now offering to pay out $1,500 in funeral costs to help bereaved families.

The funds will be paid out as part of the Emergency Supplemental Victims Fund and will provide families with finances to help bury their loved ones.

Shooting victims can also receive $1,000 to help cover basic needs like their medical and grocery bills – as well as up to $1,000 for temporary relocation costs.

The program already exists in the city after being introduced across five communities in 2022 but is now being expanded to a further 15 across the city.

Mayor Brandon Johnson announced the plans saying the move was a step in the right direction and could help mitigate the gun violence problem. Critics have claimed the creation of the fund is a disturbing sign of just how the Windy City has become.

Johnson said: ‘This crisis did not show up with simply a bullet. This crisis showed up when previous administrations decided to give up on these communities.

‘The program provides much-needed resources to promote healing in our communities and among the families that have been affected by violence, offering a lifeline that will lead us to a safer city.’

Kevin Edwards, who survived a non-fatal gunshot wound, received $1,000 in support following the shooting in the West Garfield Park area last summer.

He told ABC7: ‘It was terrible. I couldn’t do anything else. I thought I was over with. I thought I was going to die.’

Edwards used the funds to help pay towards his medical bills, adding: ‘It can cease. I believe what he said. Hopefully everyone can get on board and it can decrease.’

The announcement by the mayor comes after a violent week in the city in which 71 people were shot and nine killed from Friday to Monday.

From midnight on Sunday until 5am on Monday around two dozen people were shot.

22nd Ward Alderman said: ‘Seventy people being shot is 70 too many. The fact is, we’ve got work to do. While we’re making progress, we’ve got so much more to do.’

Latest statistics released earlier this week by the Chicago Police Department show that so far this year there has been 961 shooting incidents.

On Tuesday evening, seven-year-old Jai’mani Amir Rivera was shot and killed in the city’s Near West Side in what police described as ‘random gunfire’.

Chicago police Superintendent Larry Snelling told reporters that Rivera had been walking out of his home when shots rang out.

Snelling said: ‘This child was walking out of their residence and was struck by gunfire.’

Rivera received aid from officers who arrived on the scene and was rushed to hospital but he was later pronounced dead.

Snelling added: ‘We are losing our children and we really need to think about the gun violence that is going on in this city.

‘We all need to step up to try and fight this gun violence to try and save our children.’

Rivera was not the first seven-year-old to die as a result of the gun violence in the city.

In 2020, Natalia Wallace was killed outside of a 4th of July party at her grandmother’s home while playing with other children on the sidewalk.

Officers said that three men jumped out of a white vehicle and opened fire on party-goers before speeding away.

Wallace was shot in the forehead and was later pronounced dead in hospital, with her family describing her as a ‘funny and outspoken girl’.

Kevin Boyd was charged with first degree murder in connection with her death, alongside Terrell Boyd and Davion Mitchell. It is unclear at what stage their cases are it.

After the death of Rivera, Mayor Johnson joined Snelling in echoing his sentiment that gun violence had reached a breaking point in the city.

Johnson said: ‘The grief in this city has become increasingly more unbearable. The ungodly behavior, the acts of violence that have plagued our city for so long have reached a breaking point.

‘This is no longer simply about tragedy, but it is about course-correcting ways of life of some individuals in this city that have caused terror, trauma and torment. We will hold individuals accountable.’

In April of this year an eight-year-old was killed in a mass shooting in the south side of the city that left ten others hurt.

According to police, a family was gathered for a birthday party when gunmen opened fire with assault rifles and handguns.

A nine-year-old boy was also injured with a graze wound to his finger. He was taken to the hospital and was in stable condition, police said.

In announcing the new move for victims and their families, the city said they will be reinvesting $10 million over the next three years to cover the cost.