In his first interview since becoming the top federal prosecutor in Chicago, Zachary Fardon told reporters that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel was wrong to say federal efforts did not go far enough on gun crime in the city.
“We are not going to arrest our way out of the gang problem in Chicago,” Fardon said, according to The Chicago Sun-Times.
Fardon spoke on Wednesday with the Sun-Times, the Associated Press, and three other news outlets. The 47-year-old was sworn in as the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois on Oct. 23. And while he said gun crime was a “major priority” for him, and that he had lost sleep over the deaths of innocent children caught in Chicago’s gang violence, he said “I do not believe federal law enforcement is the panacea.” He pointed to what he believes to be the caused of the gang problem in the city: “poverty, education, lack of job opportunities and sometimes failures in parenting.”
According to the AP, politicians have been publicly calling on Fardon to do more about the gang-related and drug-related violence in Chicago since he was chosen by Obama to replace former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. Emanuel, in particular, recently called federal efforts against gun crime in Chicago “horrible.”
“I do not think that’s fair,” Fardon said Wednesday, according to the AP. “I respectfully disagree with the mayor and I told him as much [in a recent meeting.]”
Citing the “sad, even tragic” history of political corruption in Illinois, Fardon said corruption would not take a back seat to violent crime issues, according to the Sun-Times.