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.