It looks like Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel may be on his own — without court oversight — to implement the sweeping police reforms recommended by the U.S. Justice Department in the waning days of the Obama administration, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In a speech yesterday, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticized the Obama DOJ’s scathing indictment of the Chicago Police Department as “pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based.” Sessions acknowledged that he has only read the summary of the 161-page report. To the cheers of the police union, Sessions sent his strongest signal to date that he was more concerned about supporting demoralized police officers than he was about negotiating a consent decree culminating in the hiring of a federal monitor to make certain police reforms are implemented in a timely fashion, no matter what it costs local taxpayers.
Sessions noted that homicide rates in Chicago, Baltimore, Milwaukee and Memphis had returned to “levels not seen in two decades.” He mentioned more than 4,000 shooting victims and 762 murders last year in Chicago. “Unfortunately in recent years, 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. 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 said. He said that, “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.” he said. Emanuel responded to Sessions by reiterating that there is no turning back on the road to police reform.