DOJ's War on Cops Targets Chicago

Maybe now we can call the rise of crime in our inner cities the “Chicago effect” after the Department of Justice stepped over the bodies of 762 Chicagoans murdered in 2016 to issue a report damning Chicago cops for racially biased and overly aggressive policing. As the Chicago Tribune reported:

A damning U.S. Department of Justice report released Friday morning excoriates the Chicago Police Department for using excessive force and unfairly targeting minorities while providing shoddy training and little effective supervision or discipline…

The report is the product of a federal investigation launched more than a year ago amid the fallout over the shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer. As expected, the Justice Department found that the department systematically violates the rights of citizens…

Chicago police must show "communities racked with violence that their police force cares about them and has not abandoned them, regardless of where they live or the color of their skin," the report states.

Ironically, the constant accusations of police brutality across the country from Ferguson, Missouri to Baltimore have had the precise effect of having police pull back, afraid to enforce the law in “communities racked with violence”, knowing their every move could wind up on the evening news accompanied by accusations of brutality.:

Last October, a Chicago police officer wound up in a hospital after being severely beaten in a confrontation with a criminal. She was afraid to use her gun for fear she would be accused for “using excessive force” as the DOJ report, ignoring the hazards faced by street cops, states.:

A police officer who is now recovering in the hospital after being badly beaten by an unhinged man said she was afraid to use her weapon because of the scrutiny she would have faced, according to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

The officer, publicly identified only as a 17-year veteran, was responding to a car crash in the suburban neighborhood of Austin Wednesday when the attack happened.

The officer tried to talk to one of the drivers involved in the crash, a 28-year-old man believed to be high on PCP, when he became violent and struggled with them, Johnson said. While wrestling on the ground, the suspect allegedly grabbed the officer's head and slammed her face into the pavement until she lost consciousness….

“As I was at the hospital last night, visiting with her, she looked at me and said she thought she was gonna die, and she knew that she should shoot this guy, but she chose not to because she didn’t want her family or the department to go through the scrutiny the next day on national news,” Johnson said.

Her reluctance to use force against a drug-crazed thug mirrors the pulling back by police nationally in the wake of politically correct scrutiny. Last October, FBI Director James Comey, ironically in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School, warned about how police were being in fact less aggressive in their policing after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri by Officer Darren Wilson:

The F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said on Friday that the additional scrutiny and criticism of police officers in the wake of highly publicized episodes of police brutality may have led to an increase in violent crime in some cities as officers have become less aggressive….

“I don’t know whether that explains it entirely, but I do have a strong sense that some part of the explanation is a chill wind that has blown through American law enforcement over the last year,” Mr. Comey said in a speech at the University of Chicago Law School.

Mr. Comey’s remarks caught officials by surprise at the Justice Department, where his views are not shared at the top levels. Holding the police accountable for civil rights violations has been a top priority at the department in recent years, and some senior officials do not believe that scrutiny of police officers has led to an increase in crime….

“Lives are saved when those potential killers are confronted by a police officer, a strong police presence and actual, honest-to-goodness, up-close ‘What are you guys doing on this corner at 1 o’clock in the morning’ policing,” Mr. Comey said. “We need to be careful it doesn’t drift away from us in the age of viral videos, or there will be profound consequences.”

Michael Brown was a local Ferguson thug who committed a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store before he assaulted Officer Wilson and tried to shoot him with his own gun. It was reported not as the robbery of a store and an assault on a police officer but as another example of police brutality. It spawned the Black Lives Matter movement based on the “hands up, don’t shoot lie” pushed by liberal anti-cop activists. Attorney General Eric Holder dispatched 40 FBI agents to Ferguson in pursuit of “racial justice” only to grudgingly admit that Officer Wilson was justified in shooting Michael Brown. It led to what became known as the “Ferguson effect”, a decline in enforcement due to police looking over their shoulders for those second-guessing their every move.

Perhaps now it will be called the “Chicago effect” -- the reluctance of police to aggressively pursue crime and criminals for fear of losing their careers after winding up on the evening news, damned for doing their jobs, police are attacked for disproportionately targeting minorities, but in Chicago and elsewhere, blacks are disproportionately the victims of crime. The police are in effect being accused of enforcing the law where the laws are being broken. In arresting minorities, they are in fact protecting minorities who live in those high-crime areas.

In announcing the DOJ report, Attorney General Loretta Lynch fails to grasp that it is the micromanaging of police behavior that inhabits effective law enforcement. Yes, there are bad cops. But there are far more bad criminals, many in black gangs preying on black citizens. Our police are being neutered, afraid to risk their lives or their careers for fear DOJ pencil pushers don’t have their back. Criminals are emboldened knowing that the police will be guilty until proven innocent as every “eyewitness” will tell a story that gets them on the evening news. 762 Chicagoans paid the price last year, casualties in the war on cops.

Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.