Just over a month ago we wrote about the Obama administration's parting middle finger to the Chicago police force after the Department of Justice, led by then Attorney General Loretta Lynch, released what appeared to us to be a politically motivated report accusing the CPD of a "pattern of racial discrimination" and "unconstitutional use of force." And while the DOJ's 164-page report was heavy on accusations and innuendo, it was mysteriously lacking on scientific facts to support their highly controversial claims. Here's how we summarized the DOJ's findings:
With one week left in office, Obama's Department of Justice has released a report effectively labeling the Chicago police department as nothing more than a bunch of racist, hate-mongering bullies who routinely resort to the use of "deadly force" in violation of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.
Justice Department Finds a Pattern of Civil Rights Violations by the Chicago Police Department ? https://t.co/600C0xV3yX— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) January 13, 2017
And while our characterization is probably somewhat more colorful than Attorney General Leretta Lynch would like, that Chicago Police are "racist" and "brutal" will nonetheless undoubtedly be the key takeaways from the press release and supporting documents posted earlier to the DOJ website.
That said, Trump's new Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasted precious little time dismissing the Obama administration's crusade against law enforcement departments across the country saying the DOJ's findings in Chicago were "pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based." Per The Hill:
Sessions said the findings in the report were "pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based,” though he also said that he had read summaries rather than the full documents.
"You have 800,000 police in America. Imagine a city of 800,000 people," Sessions said. "There's going to be some crime in it, some people are going to make errors."
Sessions, who has enjoyed broad support from the police community and is widely viewed as a law-and-order style attorney general, said that, rather spending time and money suing police departments around the country, his Department of Justice would focus on how best to work with local police forces to combat the recent surge in violent crime in cities like Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Memphis. Per The Hill:
However, Sessions warned that there are clear warning signs — “like the first gusts of wind before a summer storm” — that the nation is at a tipping point and that the trend is about to reverse.
The attorney general said those trends continued into the first half of 2016, with the number of violent crimes up more than 5 percent year-over-year and the murder rates in 27 of the nation’s 35 larges cities — Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Memphis among — skyrocketing.
“These numbers should trouble all of us,” Sessions said. “My worry is that this is not a ‘blip’ or an anomaly, but the start of a dangerous new trend that could reverse the hard-won gains of the past four decades — gains that made America a safer and more prosperous place.”
“While we can hope for the best, those of us charged with protecting public safety can’t afford to be complacent or take for granted the achievements of recent years, because when crime rates move in the wrong direction, they can move quickly,” he continued. “So we need to act decisively at all levels – federal, state and local — to reverse this rise in violent crime and keep our citizens safe. This will be a top priority of the Department of Justice during my time as Attorney General.”
Meanwhile, Sessions blasted Eric Holder for creating an environment where police as a whole were targeted and "maligned" for the inappropriate behavior of a "few bad actors" resulting in a reluctance of officers to actually do their jobs for fear of being the next victim of a viral video.
“They tell us that in this age of viral videos and targeted killings of police, many of our men and women in law enforcement are becoming more cautious,” Sessions said. “They’re more reluctant to get out of their squad cars and do the hard but necessary work of up-close policing that builds trust and prevents violent crime.”
The attorney general said that, under former attorney general Eric Holder’s Justice Department, “law enforcement as a whole has been unfairly maligned and blamed for the unacceptable deeds of a few bad actors.”
“Our officers, deputies and troopers believe the political leadership of this country abandoned them,” Sessions said. “Their morale has suffered. And last year, amid this intense public scrutiny and criticism, the number of police officers killed in the line of duty increased 10 percent over the year before.”
Sessions vowed to work more closely with local law enforcement groups so they would know “they have our steadfast support.”
“For the federal government, that means this: rather than dictating to local police how to do their jobs – or spending scarce federal resources to sue them in court – we should use our money, research and expertise to help them figure out what is happening and determine the best ways to fight crime,” Sessions said. “We should strengthen partnerships between federal and state and local officers. And we should encourage proactive policing that ensures our police and citizens are communicating and working well together.”
Looks like Chicago's violent gangs just got their first "shot across the bow" from America's new attorney general.