Quick Hit Aricka Flowers Monday July 11th, 2016, 5:13pm

Illinois Congressmen Gutierrez, Kelly Pressure Lynch To Address Community-Police Relations, Gun Violence

Illinois congressmen Luis Gutierrez (D, IL-4) and Robin Kelly (D, IL-2) are pressing the Department of Justice's Loretta Lynch to address gun violence and community and police relations in the country.

The lawmakers sent a letter to Lynch on Monday calling for her leadership on substantive efforts to improve police relations with the public and quell gun violence.

"As our chief law enforcement officer in the United States, you are in the position to shape the national conversation from big cities to small towns and lead us towards change in attitudes and practices of law enforcement agencies," the letter reads.

This is not the first time the congressmen wrote to Lynch about policing issues and gun violence.

Back in December, during the unrest after the release of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video, Gutierrez and Kelly sent a letter to Lynch requesting that the Department of Justice head come to Chicago to discuss the agency's investigation into the city's police department and work on community and police relations. The legislators made note of that request in the letter they sent to Lynch today: 

We wrote to you...to request a meeting in Chicago to not only discuss the DOJ's investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD) but also to engage in a conversation with us and our constituents throughout Chicago to work towards a restoration of trust and the fostering of much-needed transparency.

The ongoing public outcry over police accountability problems in Chicago was also highlighted in the Chicago lawmakers' letter to the U.S. Attorney General.

"As Members of Congress, we hear from our constituents every single day about gun violence, police, the use of force, and racial profiling...We struggle to adequately respond to the concerns and suffering of our constituents--gun violence deaths are so commonplace that every weekend the number of children killed could fill an entire classroom."

The congressmen warned Lynch about their plans to get increasingly aggressive about the need for action on the issue of community and police relations, "including when she testifies before the House Judiciary Committee (on which Rep. Gutierrez sits) this week."

Gutierrez and Kelly also detailed the positive impact mobile technology has played in unearthing the incidents of police misconduct, indicating that the presence of visual evidence should hasten a response from federal leaders.

"As weeks and months pass and turn into years, the numbers of precious lives senselessly lost continue to rise," the congressmen's note concludes. "Cameras thankfully have exposed injustice and shine a light on communities mourning and protesting, but we must hold fast to our resolve to prevent another Ferguson, Chicago, Falcon Heights, or Baton Rouge even when the cameras are gone."

The full letter sent to Lynch by the congressmen can be seen here.

Image: AP Photo/Max Becherer

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