Trump wants Chicago cops to have more stop-and-frisk power; bad idea, says Rahm

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President Donald Trump speaks Monday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference in Orlando, Fla. | AP Photo

Once again focusing on Chicago crime, President Donald Trump on Monday said the city should implement a “stop and frisk” policy and get out of what he called a “terrible” agreement between the ACLU and the police department made after a study showed the vast majority of the stops targeted minorities.

Trump, speaking to the International Association of Chiefs of Police in Orlando, also said he was instructing Attorney General Jeff Sessions to “immediately” go to Chicago.

The Chicago Sun-Times has learned the Justice Department will make announcements on Chicago later this week.

It’s not clear from Trump’s comments if he was aware that the Chicago Police Department already conducts “stop and frisk,” but under restrictions stemming from a 2015 agreement.

If Trump is saying the Chicago Police Department should “do” stop and frisk, it already is. If the president is saying Chicago police should have unfettered, unsupervised stop-and-frisk — the subject of study and criticism pre-2015 — then that’s a different thing.

“I have directed the attorney general’s office to immediately go to the great city of Chicago to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave,” Trump said. “I am going to straighten it out, going to straighten it out fast. There is no reason for what’s going on there.”

He added: “I’ve told them to work with local authorities to try to change the terrible deal the city of Chicago entered into with the ACLU, which ties law enforcement’s hands, and to strongly consider stop and frisk. It works and it was meant for problems like Chicago.”

Trump’s comments come as a jury last week convicted Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the murder of Laquan McDonald. A federal monitor will oversee police reform, a process that grew out of McDonald’s death.

Trump has focused on Chicago crime since his 2016 presidential campaign, accusing city leaders of tying the hands of police, a theme he repeated on Monday.

“The crime spree is a terrible blight on that city. And we’ll do everything possible to get it done. I know the law enforcement people in Chicago and I know how good they are,” he said. “They could solve the problem if they were simply allowed to do their job and do their job properly and that’s what they want to do.”

Karen Sheley, the ACLU of Illinois director of the Police Practices Project, said Trump’s attack on the 2015 agreement shows how “yet again, this administration encourages strong-arm tactics and unconstitutional behavior by law enforcement, instead of supporting commitments by local police to do the hard work of building respect and relationships with the communities they serve.

“Black and Latino Chicagoans have lived through the decades of excessive force, unconstitutional and harassing stops, and coercive interrogations leading to false confessions. People have bled, taxpayers have payed hundreds of millions of dollars for lawsuits against officers, and the police department — having lost the faith of the community — is unable to solve serious violent crimes without the cooperation of witnesses. Chicago has started to reject these harmful, ineffective tactics. Through the 2015 ACLU agreement and the upcoming consent decree, the city is committing instead to have a police department that follows the law.” she said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he welcomes federal reinforcements — in the form of more ATF, DEA and FBI agents — to “take down gang leadership” and stop the “drug trade.”

But that’s not the kind of help Donald Trump is offering. Returning to the more intensive “stop-and-frisk” procedures would run contrary to Chicago’s ongoing effort to repair shattered public trust between citizens and police, the mayor said.

“The failed policies he’s talking about have no place for a city that’s working together with communities about how to build — not only trust, but a collaborative and cooperative relationship,” the mayor said Monday.

“So, while resources are always welcome, the idea of what President Trump is talking about is not only not welcome — it’s antithetical to what we’re working on, and that is about a strong, pro-active, professional police department.”

Emanuel said he doesn’t “want to get into a statistical” debate with Trump on crime in the city. But the lame-duck mayor noted that “overall gun violence was down … about 20 percent” in 2017 in Chicago and that promising trend was repeated during the first nine months of this year.

In August 2015, the ACLU pressed for expanded reporting on investigatory stops in Chicago after releasing a study showing minorities have been predominately targeted for stops here. The ACLU found Chicago police officers made more than a 250,000 stops from May through August 2014 without arrests, far more than in New York City at the peak of that police department’s stop-and-frisk practices. Most of those stopped were African-Americans.

Martin Preib, a vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, though, argued the restrictions on police pushed by the mayor have hindered law enforcement.

“It is Rahm Emanuel who has betrayed the public trust by handcuffing the police and failing to address the evidence of corruption in the wrongful conviction movement,” he said.

In August, the FOP warned that a weekend bloodbath that month that left 71 people shot, including 12 fatally, could be “a hint of what it is to come if the war on police continues” with a consent decree imposing “drastic new police oversight.”

“The FOP has argued that these measures will make policing even more difficult in Chicago, burdening officers with endless bureaucracy, paperwork and ambiguous policies that ultimately will be used to arbitrarily discipline officers,” the blog post stated.

The union noted that “among those cheering” the consent decree was the ACLU, which “entered into the lawsuit that seeks to create” the decree culminating in the appointment of a federal monitor to ride herd over CPD.

The August FOP blog post pointed to an academic study by University of Utah researchers, entitled “The ACLU Effect.”

The union claimed the study “demonstrated clearly that ACLU policies imposed upon the Chicago Police Department led to a 2012 spike in Chicago homicides.” Other academics who have studied the issue suggest street stops have a more modest impact on crime overall.

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