Attorney General Jeff Sessions called a proposed consent decree that would reform the Chicago Police Department an “insult,’’ saying, “Chicago police are not the problem.’’ Sessions spoke to business and law enforcement representatives at an event sponsored by the Chicago Crime Commission, the Chicago Tribune reports. Sessions bemoaned the city’s spike in violence in 2016, blaming “the ACLU effect,” a reference to the city’s agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois that required police to more thoroughly document street stops. “If you let ACLU set police policy, crime will go up,’’ he said. Though he didn’t specifically refer to controversial “stop-and-frisk’’ policies backed by President Trump, Sessions said that if police “don’t stop,’’ they “don’t find’’ illegal guns and fugitives. He called the ACLU agreement a “colossal’’ mistake that reduced public safety and placed “minorities, particularly at risk.’’
Karen Sheley, the director of the ACLU’s police practices project in Illinois, blasted Sessions for repeating “knowingly false assertions about crime in Chicago.” She said, “He pushes this misinformation over and over in order to block much-needed reforms and to encourage unlawful strong-arm tactics. Sessions creates the incorrect impression that the only answer to crime is unconstitutional practices by police.” Sessions said the president has told him he is “deeply concerned’’ about the city’s violence and that Chicago residents have pleaded with Trump to do something about the problem, even “bring in’’ the military. Chicago’s proposed consent decree would aim to tighten supervision, improve training and fix the city’s police disciplinary system. “These decrees tend to drag on for years,’’ Sessions said. They are costly and use “vague and subjective’’ metrics, he added.