Report Roundly Rejects Claims of Lightfoot, ACLU
Public Television station WTTW hosted a three-person discussion of ardent police reform activists on Monday.
The group was comprised of Lori Lightfoot, president of the Chicago Police Board, Karen Sheley, director of the Police Practices Project at ACLU Illinois, and Arewa Karen Winters, member of Black Lives Matters. The panel was discussing a consent decree that would give more authority to groups like the ACLU and BLM to participate in the creation of a federal body that would oversee the police department.
Host Carol Marin read a statement by FOP President Graham rejecting a consent decree.
Here was Graham’s statement:
As it is, the consent decree is a tremendous waste of resources for the city and state that will diminish the ability of the officers to protect the public. The ACLU has proven particularly adept at increasing crime with their reforms rather than truly protecting the people they claim they represent.
We do not believe that there is the systemic corruption in the police department that the ACLU and Ms. Lightfoot so often rail about. Rather, we believe that public figures like Ms. Lightfoot are joining in on the police corruption narrative as a means of political gain.
The panel members were aghast. Sheley, from the ACLU said Graham was living in a “fantasyland.”
Problem was, right as the three advocates were making their claims, a comprehensive study by two researchers was floating around the city that bolstered Graham’s views.
And not in a small way.
The two researchers, Paul Cassell and Richard Fowles from the University of Utah, cited in the report, titled “The ACLU Effect,” the ACLU’s intrusion on police practices as the primary factor that led to an explosion in the city’s murder rate in 2016.
How drastic was it?
Consider this. In 2015, according to the researchers, Chicago Police Officers conducted 600,000 street stops. The next year, the police made 100,000 stops. That’s some 500,000 fewer stops.
And the murder rate? It went from 480 in 2015 to 754 in 2016, a 58% increase in one year, according to the report.
The researchers point to one key cause in the decline of stops and the increase in murders: an agreement between the ACLU and the Chicago Police Department.
From the report:
But what was the cause of this decline? A settlement agreement or “consent decree” between the ACLU and the Chicago Police Department—on the very subject of stop and frisks—appears to be the obvious answer...
…In August 2015, the ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Police Department entered into a “landmark” settlement agreement in order to avoid a possible lawsuit over the Department’s stop and frisk practices. Under the settlement agreement, officers were required to complete a form after any “investigatory stop and/or protective pat down.” The forms were to be collected and forwarded to the ACLU, entered into a database, and reviewed twice a year by retired U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys to determine whether the stops were constitutional. The new forms were significantly longer than the previously required documentation. They required the officer to include much more information, such as “the name and badge number of the officer, the race/ethnicity of the person stopped, the gender of the person stopped, all the reasons for the stop, the location, date and time of the stop, whether or not a pat down resulted from the stop (along with the reason for the pat down), whether contraband was discovered and what happened as a result of the stop (including an arrest, warning, or no action at all).”
These conclusions are nothing new to police officers, who recognized the ACLU agreement for what it was, an extraordinarily anti-police measure to put officers in a legal trick bag by making it easier to file frivolous lawsuits against officers.
The ACLU’s response to the report is also illuminating. They wrote on their website:
A new academic article contorts facts and statistics to claim that a consultant’s review of documentation regarding police stop-and-frisks of pedestrians caused murders in Chicago.
And what is the report in truth, according to the ACLU?
The article is a repackaged version of the hateful rhetoric that Black and Latino people should be subjected to unconstitutional and abusive policing and the absurd suggestion that police officers will be too scared to do their jobs if they have oversight.
Now who’s living in fantasyland? Such a knee-jerk, unjustified accusation of racism is fairly shocking, particularly from an organization that claims to support civil liberties, like free speech and intellectual inquiry.
Just what impact will the latest consent decree measures have on policing? The city announced an agreement to allow anti-police groups some input into negotiations, as well as the power to oppose provisions they disagree with.
The consequences could be dire. COPA’s biased, crooked investigations, Chicago’s fervent, unchecked anti-police media, and the ACLU dictating police policy have created the perfect storm for police officers.
Northwest Side Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41st) put it this way:
“We’ve already created a department of reactive police officers [who] don’t want to do anything right now…”
Lightfoot and Sheley can put the countenance of surprise and shock all they want. The evidence is becoming crystal clear that demands for so-called police reform are baseless and costing lives.