As he stepped down as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois over the weekend, Zachary Fardon had a few final things to say about the need for police reform in the city he was leaving behind, "unshackled by the diplomatic constraints of being the U.S. Attorney."
Fardon was one of 46 federal prosecutors the Trump administration ordered to resign on Saturday. He was appointed to his position in 2013 by President Barack Obama.
He acknowledged that during his three years in his role, gun violence in Chicago had continued to worsen, and that the police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald marked a turning point in the city:
Trump has frequently referred to gun violence in Chicago during his campaign and after being elected. He suggested that Chicago police could solve the crisis "in a week" if they were given license to be "very much tougher." Fardon, after years of working in the city, says that in fact, forging forward with an already dysfunctional system will not improve the situation:
He said the city urgently needs to follow the recommendations of the DOJ report that was released in January after a year-long investigation. The report found widespread civil rights abuses and a lack of disciplinary action for police officers who were accused of misconduct. Attorney General Jeff Sessions indicated recently that his Department of Justice won't be closely monitoring police departments and is unlikely to follow the recommendations of any of the several DOJ reports on police departments released in recent years. Fardon says the report gets at the underlying problems with the force:
He also slammed the idea of sending in the National Guard to address gun violence–something President Trump may have been suggesting when he threatened to "send in the feds":
And called out the cash bail system that results in people not convicted of a crime getting caught in the prison system while violent, repeat offenders can buy their release:
"This is not war," Fardon wrote. "Wars are fought between enemies. There is only one enemy here, and it is us, all of us in Chicago. Every single one of us. We are the problem, and we are the solution. If we resort to wrongheaded measures, we might set ourselves back years, even decades in the long term fight."