Authorities last year suggested Chicago's spike in gun violence last year was due to the “Ferguson effect” — cops afraid to do their jobs because of the scrutiny after the shooting of a black teenager by a white officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., With Chicago now plagued with an even steeper rise in fatal shootings in January, street cops are offering a new reason: the “ACLU effect,” reports the Chicago Sun-Times. They say the Chicago Police Department's pact with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to monitor police stops in greater detail is prompting officers to stop policing, leaving the streets to the criminals and leading to the spike in gun violence.
Starting last month, officers have been required to fill out two-page forms documenting every stop of a citizen for everything from traffic violations to investigative stops. They ask for much more information than the previous one-page “contact cards” officers filled out. In interviews with officers and sergeants, a common theme has emerged: Cops say they have avoided making many of the stops they would have routinely done last year. They fear getting in trouble for stops later deemed to be illegal and say the new cards take too much time to complete. Their reluctance to make stops was borne out by a police statistic released Sunday: Officers completed 79 percent fewer contact cards in January 2016 than over the same period last year. Under similar pressure from the ACLU, New York City has scaled back its stop-and-frisk practices. New York police made 23 stops per 1,000 people in 2011 and 2 per 1,000 in 2014, compared with 93 per 1,000 in Chicago in the summer of 2014.