Chicago Cops Need To Know They're Respected: Sessions
CHICAGO — Two weeks after Chicago police Ofc. Jason Van Dyke was convicted in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, U.S. Attorney Jeff Sessions said the city’s law enforcement community shouldn’t be treated like “some rogue police department because of the actions of the few, even if they’re very bad actions.” His backing of the Chicago Police Department — and sharp criticism of a possible consent decree and police reforms by the American Civil Liberties Union — was part of a nearly 30 minute speech Friday before the Chicago Crime Commission.
“There is one asset that can make this city safer, and it’s your police dept,” Sessions said. “You must give it your support, morally and financially. They must be enthusiastic about their work. They need to know that they are respected. They need to know that the city and its people understand the difficult challenges they must face. They need to know they are supported.”
According to Sessions, one of the biggest challenges for the department and the Chicago’s overall prosperity is how to stem violent crime. To that end, he’s bolstered the federal law enforcement presence in the city. Additional Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive agents have been detached to the city, and about a dozen more prosecutors have been assigned since last year.
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“I’ve sent more violent crime prosecutors to Chicago than any other city,” he said.
While he’s in favor of providing CPD with the federal tools it needs, Sessions objected to initiatives that he believes micromanage officers and undermine safety. He characterized the suggested consent decree as undemocratic and “an insult to the department,” while he called an agreement with the ACLU to better monitor police stops “a colossal mistake” and “an error of monumental proportion.”
“If you listen to antifa, if you listen to ACLU, crime will go up,” Sessions said. “If you listen to police professionals, crime will go down. We want crime to go down.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions (Photo by Michael Candelori | Shutterstock)
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