Is Chicago Too Dangerous for the Film Industry?

Michael Rosebrock /

Is Chicago just too dangerous to support their growing film industry?

A week after a video showing a Chicago police officer killing a teenager, which forced Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire his head of police after calls for his own resignation, the city has released dash cam video footage of another officer-involved shooting: A 2014 incident that left a 25-year-old man dead.


The video above was shown at a press conference Monday afternoon held by state attorney Anita Alvarez. It shows Ronald Johnson, running away from a group of cops before officer George Hernandez fires five shots at him. According to reports, Alvarez says one bullet entered and hit Johnson’s knee, and another went through the right side of his body and out through his face.

Alvarez points out the video shows Hernandez firing his weapon but does not show Johnson being hit because he was out of dash cam’s frame.

Unlike Jason Van Dyke, the office who faces first degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald, Hernandez is currently not facing any charges for killing Johnson. Apparently, Johnson allegedly possessed a weapon and, according to Illinois state report, Johnson was running towards other police officers.

Johnson’s family have been quite vocal in the press about revealing the video, alleging that Johnson was unarmed when he was shot.

Also on Monday, the Department of Justice announced that it would be launching a civil rights investigation of the Chicago Police Department focusing on their history of deadly force. Alvarez said in her press conference that the footage of Johnson’s death has been released and shown to the FBI, which also decided not to investigate.

But, this is form of violence is not new. On Halloween weekend, 29 people were shot in Chicago. So many people were shot people called it The Purge.

Chicago Purge

Here is a small breakdown from the several shootings that occurred on Halloween weekend, from Fox 32 Chicago:

A man walked into a business that included a currency exchange in the 7200 block of West 51st Street about 7 p.m. and pulled out a gun, threatened the employee behind the counter and announced a robbery,

Reginald Gildersleeve, 55, of the 5000 block of South California, was shot multiple times and pronounced dead at the scene at 7:10 p.m., according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

The 19-year-old man was on the sidewalk in the 8700 block of South Honore Street at 7:11 p.m. when a car drove by and someone inside fired shots before leaving the area. The man heard the shots and felt pain, police said. He suffered a gunshot wound to the left leg, and was taken to Holy Cross Hospital in good condition, police said.

About two hours earlier, two 16-year-old boys were shot in a third Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood shooting. The boys were shot in the 7300 block of South Woodlawn Avenue at 10:47 a.m., when they were approached by a group of people. One person from the group shot at the boys, and then the group ran away, police said. One of the boys suffered a gunshot wound to the leg, and was taken to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn where his condition was stabilized. The other boy, who is a gang member, suffered a graze wound to the leg, and he refused medical attention at the scene.

But, all of these recent reports of murders, begs the question – is Chicago too dangerous for the film industry?


According to the Chicago Tribune, Illinois announced they will resume film tax credits when the budget passes through the state congress.

After spending more than five months caught up in the ongoing state budget fracas, Illinois’ film tax credit might be ready for its comeback: Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office announced it is “re-instituting the Film Tax Credit approvals.”

The deferral of the incentive program “will continue until a budget is enacted to ensure no budget impact during this time,” according to the governor’s office.

The tax incentives will give back 30% of all money spent in Illinois. But, with cops killing reported unarmed individuals, a Federal investigation in civilian killings, and reports of a “Purge” during last Halloween, can Chicago’s film industry actually exist in a community surrounded by so much violence?


Maybe their film industry can help save the 15th ranked murder capital of the United States? NBC has recently tapped into Chicago’s film industry by producing several TV shows including Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D. and Chicago Med. In addition, Fox’s Empire is now filming throughout Chicago, Illinois. With more people involved in the film industry maybe it can help prevent horrendous murders.

What do you think? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!