This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, January 25, 2017:
The crime rate in Chicago is so outrageous that when President Donald Trump tweeted about it on Tuesday, his numbers were already outdated. Tweeted Trump: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!” Wednesday morning the Chicago Tribune reported that, in the city so far this year there have been “at least 247 people shot … with at least 47 people killed.”
What isn’t clear — and the White House hasn’t provided any further details — is exactly what Trump means. What feds? The FBI? The ATF? Officials from the Justice Department?
Chicago Mayor Rahm “never let an opportunity go to waste” Emanuel thinks he knows: more federal funding to hire more police and to track “illegal guns” and, of course, more gun laws.
Trump’s tweet refers back to this part of his inaugural address:“The crime and the gangs and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential — this American carnage stops right here and stops right now.”
His tweet reiterated a previous one posted even earlier: “If Mayor [Rahm Emanuel] can’t do it he must ask for Federal help!”
Although specifics are lacking, in August Trump told Fox News host Bill O’Reilly that he had recently spoken with some “very top police” in Chicago about its violent crime problem and how it could be stopped in a week:
How? By being very much tougher than they [the CPD] are right now. They’re right now not tough. When I was in Chicago, I got to meet a couple of very top police. I said, “How do you stop this? How do you stop this? If you were put in charge — [speaking] to a specific person — do you think you could stop it?”
He said, “Mr. Trump, I’d be able to stop it in one week.”
In a September TV interview, Trump provided one clue as to what he believes could be done: “We did it in New York, it worked incredibly well…. I see what’s going on … in Chicago. I think stop-and-frisk. In New York City, it was so incredible, the way that worked, so I think that could be one step you could do. I think Chicago needs stop-and-frisk.”
Former New York City Mayor Rudi Giuliani agrees. Writing in the Wall Street Journal just after Trump’s “one week” comment, he said, “Stop and frisk is based on an 8-1 decision of the Supreme Court, Terry v. Ohio. That ruling hasn’t been overturned or even modified by the court since it was handed down in 1968…. Over a 20-year use of this policy, spanning the administrations of two New York City mayors and four police commissioners, stop and frisk played a material part in reducing homicides in New York City. It helped to change New York City from [being] the crime capital of America to the safest large city in the country.”
In Terry v. Ohio, the Supreme Court ruled that “Police may stop a person if they have a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed or is about to commit a crime, and may frisk the suspect for weapons if they have reasonable suspicion that the suspect is armed and dangerous, without violating the Fourth Amendment prohibition on unreasonable searches and seizures.”
And, right up until the ACLU got involved, the Chicago Police Department used stop-and-frisk to keep violent crime under some control. But in 2015 the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois threatened to sue the department over what it considered to be an excessive use of the practice, calling it racial profiling. The CPD backed off, entered into an agreement with the group that required police officers to more carefully and thoroughly document their street stops. The changes were also incorporated in a new state law.
Since then, stop-and-frisks have dropped while crime has soared.
In responding to Trump’s pro-law enforcement message, Emanuel acknowledged the effect the new agreement is having on the CPD but said, “The choice isn’t just “Go back to stop-and-frisk.”… We need our police to have high professional standards, the training to support them in those high professional standards, and the certainty to be proactively involved.”
In the meantime, Chicago’s “carnage” continues apace.