Jeff Sessions Says If You Want More Shootings And Death, Listen To The ACLU And Black Lives Matter

from the on-the-plus-side,-Trump-seems-to-want-him-gone dept

Jeff Sessions is still quoting a bad study to score points with law enforcement officials. Earlier this year — while speaking to the National Association of Police Organizations — he cited a study by two Chicago lawprofs that supposedly drew a connection between violent crime spikes in Chicago and a settlement with the ACLU, reached after years of police misconduct and abuse.

The Attorney General’s point was clear: misconduct and abuse are what’s keeping criminal activity at bay. Constitutionally-sound police work lets the criminals win. The problem with Sessions’ assertions — and the law profs’ conclusions — is several cities with consent decrees or settlements in place have seen violent crime rates continue to go down, indicating there’s really no provable connection between violent crime rates and so-called “limitations” on police activity.

Nevertheless, he persists. Speaking to the VALOR Survive and Thrive Conference, Sessions chose to quote the same faulty study again. (Quick sidebar: VALOR stands for “Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability.”Really.) [h/t Ryan Reilly]

More people were murdered in Chicago in 2016 than in New York and Los Angeles combined—even though Chicago has one-fifth of the population of those two cities.

The situation was so bad that nearly a quarter of the nationwide increase in homicide that year happened in Chicago alone.

This did not need to happen. In 2015 and 2016, Chicago had the same police on patrol and the same prosecutors in court, but dramatically different results.

So what happened?

According to a study by two professors from the University of Utah—one of whom is a former federal judge—the consent decree mandated a major change in Chicago’s community-based policing—including Terry stops—that allowed this bloodshed to take place.

The professors found that the increased crime cost a staggering $1.5 billion and noted that 78 percent of its victims were African-American and 16 percent were Latino. Ninety-four percent of the victims were minorities.

What happened is officers refused to do their jobs. Some saw the agreement as a trap. Others just didn’t feel like making an effort.

The ACLU consent decree required police officers to submit a detailed report to the ACLU, a former federal judge, and a publicly available database after every single Terry stop.

John’s predecessor as United States Attorney, Zachary Fardon, said in an open letter to the City that the ACLU agreement “[told] cops if you go talk to those kids on the corner, you’re going to have to take 40 minutes to fill out a form, and you’re going to have to give them a receipt with your badge number on it.”

And he noted that as a result, by January 2016, “the city was on fire” because “the rule of law, law enforcement, had been delegitimized.” That is a devastating analysis.

Reporting by the Chicago Sun Times confirms this, stating in January 2016, that Chicago officers say that “they fear getting in trouble for stops later deemed to be illegal and the new [required forms] take too much time to complete.”

Roughly the same thing happened in New York City, but there were no increases in violent crime. Officers were supposed to justify stops and produce documentation. The difference is NYPD officers continued to make stops, rather than abandon their duties. There are still unanswered questions about the legitimacy of some NYPD stops, thanks to missing mandatory paperwork, but the court-ordered overhaul of the department’s stop-and-frisk program did not result in the apocalypse promised by the outgoing mayor.

Simply put, Chicago police officers don’t want to engage in Constitutional policing — not if it means spending a bit more time filling out paperwork. The supposed “gotcha” moments will never occur if stops align with the Constitution, the agreement, and include the required paperwork. Abdicating your responsibilities has unpleasant outcomes, especially if you’re in the business of law enforcement. A spike in violent crime is one conceivable result. But don’t blame the agreement. Blame the officers for their lack of interest in respecting the rights of others.

Sessions goes even further in these remarks, though. He blows past the so-called “ACLU effect” the Chicago law profs claimed to have pinpointed in their study to blame the ACLU (and others) directly for spikes in violent crime.

There’s a clear lesson here: if you want more shootings and more death, then listen to the ACLU, Black Lives Matter, or Antifa. If you want public safety, then listen to the police professionals who have been studying this for 35 years.

This is the sort of thing high-ranking officials shouldn’t be seriously thinking, much less saying out loud in front of other public officials in law enforcement. This is Sessions saying the ends justify the means and groups seeking accountability from their public servants have the blood of crime victims on their hands just because they want officers to respect the Constitution.

Then he contradicts this assertion by citing falling crime rates in Los Angeles and New York — both of which have been hit with settlements and consent decrees that altered how officers go about their daily business. Somehow he feels this doesn’t undermine his “ACLU effect” comments or his willingness to saddle ACLU and BLM with the end result of police officers refusing to do their jobs.

And if it isn’t the ACLU killing citizens, it’s everyone who doesn’t immediately stand and salute the Thin Blue Line flag.

The proof is in. It can no longer be denied: disrespect and lack of support for police officers has real world consequences.

Leaders must understand and affirm the important and dangerous work of our officers. Failure to support our professionals undermines the pro-active policing that has been shown to save lives.

The proof isn’t in. The study he cites decides correlation is causation. The examples he gives about other major US cities undermine the vaunted “ACLU effect” conjured up by Chicago law profs. All Sessions has is some anecdotes and a deep disdain for anyone that isn’t a cop or a prosecutor. American citizens are apparently whiny children who wouldn’t know good policing if it stopped them on the street, threw them to the ground, and stood on their necks.

Respect is earned. Sessions — and those echoing his sentiments — believe it’s something certain people are owed. And the more he tries to collect on their behalf, the more likely he is to diminish the respect the American public has for him.

Filed Under: , , , , ,
Companies: aclu

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Jeff Sessions Says If You Want More Shootings And Death, Listen To The ACLU And Black Lives Matter”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think everyones really made it worse in a sense and that thos is all more complicated and harder to stop then everyone is willing to admit On one hand every bad officer that messes everything up for everyone that gets defended makes the whole profession look bad and people in it dont want to admit that. On the the other hand you have some on the other side that are taking advantage of this when you can have shootings like harith Augustus in chicago where the guy went for a gun on camera and protesters still wanted heads like it did not matter. I dont really see good faith and mistrust coming around here and it’s making it hard for me to see an end here.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I think everyone[’]s really made it worse in a sense and that [this] is all more complicated and harder to stop [than] everyone is willing to admit

I’m willing to admit it. That admission does not excuse a blatantly racist remark about letting racial minorities kill each other without doing anything to stop said killings.

Anonymous Coward says:

“The Attorney General’s point was clear: misconduct and abuse are what’s keeping criminal activity at bay.”

Is that what he implied? Or did he, perhaps, want to point out that an increase in likelihood of getting sued/negative publicity (for doing ones job [not misconduct/abuse]) leads to a decrease in that job being performed?

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If they get sued for doing their jobs but not misconduct or abuse then the case will get dismissed. Hell, even when it is misconduct or abuse the cases get dismissed. Both you and Sessions missed the point that there would be no consent decree if there had not been misconduct and/or abuse.

Then, one wonders, what is Sessions plan to stop misconduct and abuse? According to his statement, it is to give police respect, whether they deserve it or not, and to disobey the consent decree.

michael (profile) says:

Small government?

It can’t be pointed out often enough that the party that pretends to be the “Party of Small Government” falls all over themselves to give the police and the military a blank check on any and all abuses.

If you want a “small government,” those are literally the first places you want iron-clad regulations, stringent Constitutional checks, and heavy-handed oversight.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Got that a little backwards there

The proof is in. It can no longer be denied: disrespect and lack of support for police officers has real world consequences.

And once you can get it through your thick skull why people don’t respect or support the police, you can start dealing with the source of the problem rather than the effects.

Here’s a hint: That source isn’t on the public’s side.

Anonymous Coward says:

Someone should tell Sessions

That if he wants less crime to stop supporting “unconstitutional” asset forfeiture activities and stop treating people with cash, tattoos, or poor clothes as though they are criminals waiting to be caught.

Sessions is a total cunt.

I also can’t stand the racist BLM group, but it’s not like they don’t have some good reasons to be pissed off either.

Wyrm (profile) says:

Fighting fire with fire

So basically, Sessions’ conclusion is that crime stops crime. Only difference is that the only allowed crime should be state-sanctioned crime by badge-wielding grunts.

Another example of the mentality of “the solution to the problem is more of the problem”.

Also, this illustrates the subverted quote that “eternal vigilance is the price of liberty”. It has recently been quoted by some authoritarian politicians to mean “we have to be on guard from terrorists”, but the real meaning is that “we have to be on guard from the abuse of power of those we put in charge”. The moment we give a free pass to those in positions of power (politicians, cops, …), we lose our liberty.

Anonymous Coward says:

The more radical factions of BLM call for the dissolution of police and the prison system and questions american democracy in general and the moderates want to change things inside into….whatever they dont have any structure and no real plan the police are the police thats all that needs to be said about them I do not see any resolution to this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“The more radical factions of BLM call for the dissolution of police and the prison system and questions american democracy in general”

When was the vote taken where a majority approved of our prison system?

Can one call their government a democracy when a significant percentage of the population is treated as though there were less than human?

John Cressman says:

Apples to Potatoes

Seems there’s alot of Apples to Potatoes comparisons in the study and in your editorial on the use of the study.

Chicago is a cesspool. People talk about mass shootings that happen occasionally throughout the country but they happen on a regular basis (weekly) in Chicago. No one reports because no one cares.

It’s actually more violent NOW than it was back in the height of the Mafia.

Years of mismanagement and corruption have lead to a terrible place for people to live and work.

JWK says:


The constitution does not require paperwork for the police to do their job. The paperwork is required by an onerous consent decree which sweeps up the decent cops in order to keep the bad ones at bay.

Cops will no longer find it worth the hassle to investigate someone who just doesn’t look right because at best they will be off the streets to fill out 40 minutes of paperwork, at worst they will be under fire.

Despite what Mr. Cushing claims, the citizens of Chicago are not better off now than they were several years ago. And BLM isn’t helping by teaching kids to flee the police, which actually is more likely to get them killed according to the washing Post database on police shootings.

Bergman (profile) says:

It's called deterring crime

“they fear getting in trouble for stops later deemed to be illegal and the new [required forms] take too much time to complete.”

That’s how the system is supposed to work. Fear of the punishment for a crime deters people from committing that crime. That has been a bedrock principle of policing since Robert Peel invented the modern police force in 1829.

It really says something about US cops that they consider it a bug in the system that their illegal actions might have criminal consequences.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...