‘The Chi’ recap: Episode shows how defunding the police might play out

Following the plan from Mayor Douda, Trig and Tracy lead a successful de-escalation with no law enforcement involvement.

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Mayor Otis “Douda” Perry’s plan to defund the police involves community support.


SPOILER ALERT: This recap of Season 4, Episode 3 contains explicit plot details.

On “The Chi,” a plan by Mayor Douda (Curtiss Cook) to defund the police formulates as Community Protection, a program where citizens who have experience in de-escalating conflict are sent to answer mental health calls instead of cops. 

Instead of “calling a crackhead,” as pro-police groups often suggest to people seeking an alternative to the current iteration of law enforcement, Douda, his aide Trig (Luke James), and local activist Tracy (Tai Davis) have other ideas.

Trig and Tracy respond to a call where a man (played by Chicago rapper Vic Mensa) is in the midst of a violent confrontation with his girlfriend. The situation is defused without further violence.

In real life, plans like Douda’s seem to be working well enough to explore further. 


Tracy (Tai Davis) takes her relationship with Douda to a new level.


Denver officials executed a six-month trial where mental health officials were sent to emergency calls instead of police officers, and saw positive results where the city’s Support Team Assisted Response, or STAR, responded to 750 calls without arrests. 

And, locally, CeaseFire Illinois held a similar preemptive role within Chicago’s marginalized communities until the group’s funding was cut. 

One of the cautionary tales of law enforcement’s response to emergency calls pertaining to mental health episodes took place in Chicago in 2015, when police officer Robert Rialmo fatally shot Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old college student, and Bettie Jones, a neighbor who opened the door for the police. 

The shootings took place a month after the city was ordered to release the Laquan McDonald shooting video.

In 2016, as the Dallas police chief, David Brown — the current Chicago police superintendent —  said: “We’re asking cops to do too much in this country. Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve. Not enough mental health funding? Let the cops handle it. Not enough drug addiction funding? Let’s give it to the cops.”

Some concerned citizens in marginalized communities aren’t interested in pleading with public officials to fix systemic issues as Douda, Trig and Tracy suggested — and their plan seems to take a lot off the plate of the police. (Historically, some folks would rather call a family member instead of the police.)

‘Products of their environment’

Episode three of season four, named “Native Son,” is possibly an ode to Richard Wright’s 1940 novel of the same name that provides nuance regarding the criminal actions of Bigger Thomas, the main character. The impetus for most of the series’ main storylines stems from a murder of teenage boy. The series’ main characters all react to the tragedy in one way, shape, or form. Due to neighborhood circumstances, the series’ characters often make decisions based on location — they often play out in a variety of ways.

‘We make a great team’

Douda and Tracy’s attraction toward each other was solidified in this episode as the two take their working relationship to the next level. In the midst of it all, Roselyn (Kandi Burruss) walks in and tells them she likes to watch. Remember, in the season premiere, when Tracy met with Roselyn, she told the budding activist: “I don’t mind sharing.”

‘When a Black woman get quiet, you should be scared’

Tiff (played by Hannaha Hall) has a lot to process after Emmett (Jacob Latimore) discloses that he’s been unfaithful to her. She sleeps with her business partner, Dante (Cory Hardrict); tells Emmett about it; has a heart-to-heart conversation with Dom (La La Anthony), her new business partner and Emmett’s “entanglement” partner, and comes to a revelation that could salvage her marriage.

After taking in some advice she received about her current situation, Tiff tells Emmett she wants an open marriage, and he seems to be amenable to keeping an open mind to it. 

5 things we learned from Episode 3:

  • Jada (played by Yolonda Ross) hasn’t told Emmett about her cancer diagnosis.
  • Trig appears to have too many irons in the fire.
  • Kevin (Alex Hibbert) and Jake (Michael Epps) are serving in-school suspensions.
  • Shaad (Jason Weaver) struggles with Trig’s rules. 
  • Imani wants to help a young woman change her circumstances.

Storylines to think about:

  • How will Shaad react to hearing the news that Imani is a transwoman?
  • What does Douda and Tracy’s professional — and personal — relationship mean for their attempts to defund the police?
  • Will Emmett agree to Tiff’s wishes to have an open marriage?
  • Does Community Protection have a future?

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