Chicago Shooting Spotlights City's Failing Criminal Justice System

AP Photo/Teresa Crawford

It was another deadly weekend in the Windy City, with at least seven homicides and almost 60 shootings in the past couple of days. And while I’m sure that Mayor Lori Lightfoot will blame this weekend’s violence on legal gun owners and the gun laws of other states, I doubt she’ll have much to say about the problems in the city’s court system that are exacerbating the violence by putting repeat offenders back onto the streets with little regard to community safety.

Take the recent shooting of an Uber Eats driver, for example. Ignore for the moment the fact that Uber doesn’t allow their drivers to be armed on the job, which is another issue entirely, and focus on the suspect arrested in the shooting; 27-year old Kye Griffin, who’d been freed from jail while he awaited trial on charges of being a convicted felon in possession of a gun.

The victim, 26, drove to an address on the 10100 block of South Oglesby to make a food delivery around 4:36 p.m. Wednesday, prosecutors said. No one answered the door when he tried to complete the order, so he began walking back to his car.

As he did, Griffin rolled by in a gray car and opened fire on the victim, whom he had never met before, according to prosecutors.

“It’s just a random person. He’s trying to work,” an assistant state’s attorney said during Griffin’s bond hearing.

One bullet struck the victim in his stomach and exited through his buttocks, the prosecutor said. After being shot, the man ran into an alley and called 911 with a description of the shooter.

Police arrived in about a minute and saw Griffin, who matched the description, walking away quickly, prosecutors said. When cops asked Griffin if he saw anything, he allegedly ran.

When police caught up to Griffin, he had a gun in his possession, and shell casings found in a nearby stolen gray vehicle matched the pistol. The driver who was shot was able to identify Griffin, who was taken into custody for the second time in a year.

Griffin is charged with attempted first-degree murder, armed habitual criminal, and aggravated battery with a firearm. He was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm in November and posted $1,000 to get out of jail after appearing before Judge David Navarro, court records show. In addition to the pending case, he received a three-year sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm in 2014. His other felony convictions include aggravated battery of a peace officer and possession of a controlled substance.

That’s just nuts. Someone with a violent felony history, who’s already been busted once for being a felon in possession of a gun, is arrested and released from jail after posting just $1,000 in the case? No wonder so many criminals act with impunity in Chicago. Why should they worry about the legal consequences of their actions when those consequences are so few and far between?

As the website CWB Chicago reports, there’ve been at least 52 victims of violent crime in Chicago this year who’ve been targeted by individuals who are currently out on felony bond. That number is undoubtably far higher than 52, but given the low clearance rates in the city for both homicides and non-fatal shootings, we really have no idea how prevalent the problem truly is.

What we do know is that it’s a real problem, and one that won’t and can’t be fixed by imposing new restrictions on the right to keep and bear arms. Chicago doesn’t need any more gun control laws. It needs a criminal justice system that’s interested in seeking justice and not just returning violent criminal suspects to the streets with little regard for the threat they pose to public safety.

Sep 21, 2021 10:30 AM ET