The Chicago police force has been held under much scrutiny and criticism due to multiple instances of egregious police brutality and corruption, yet they clearly do not accept any responsibility for these issues.
According to a Chicago Sun-Times review of homicide records, January 2016 saw the biggest spike in murders across the city since 2001. This is an enormously disturbing statistic, but rather than discuss ways to combat the growing homicide rate, Chicago cops found a different organization to blame for the rise.
They contributed it to the “ACLU effect”: “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.”
The Chicago Sun-Times specifies that, “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.”
This justification is ridiculous; the ACLU is working to force police officers to behave in a responsible, accountable manner, and officers are responding by ceasing to perform their duties.
The police department’s pact with the ACLU only mandates that officers must fill out two-page forms on all stops they make concerning citizens, from traffic violations to “investigative stops.” The previous method involved filling out easy contact cards, but the new documentation is intended to increase police accountability in the face of growing police brutality.
As the Sun-Times reports, other measures the department has taken to battle rising violence include “[redeploying] more than 350 police officers and 31 sergeants from foot patrol into vehicles to give them greater visibility and improve their ability to respond to violent incidents.” This measure, while a good initial step, is not enough to address the roots of the issues.
Karen Sheley, the director of police practices for the ACLU of Illinois, has said that the ACLU “rejects any correlation between declining street stops and rising violence… Other cities have scaled back their street stops without an explosion of shootings.”
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