A few keystrokes.
That’s all it would have taken to print out a simple list of the people who were murdered in Chicago in 2013 and 2014. Back on February 27, features editor David Bernstein and contributing writer Noah Isackson requested those data from the Chicago Police Department as part of their latest investigation into the accuracy of the city’s homicide statistics.
The CPD’s response should trouble every Chicagoan who cares about transparency in government. Despite weeks of hounding from Chicago, Marty Maloney, the department’s director of news affairs, didn’t cough up the list until April 26—two months after the request. And at presstime, the CPD has only partially fulfilled an eight-week-old request for case files made under the Freedom of Information Act, delivering just 17 of the 28 files requested. “This is public information,” marvels Bernstein.
Superintendent Garry McCarthy told the City Council last year, “The CPD is a national leader on data transparency.” If that statement is to be anything but an empty boast, all of us must hold him—and his boss, Mayor Rahm Emanuel—accountable.