The Black Body Count Rises as Chicago Police Step Back
In October 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch during a crime meeting in Washington, D.C., that the Chicago police had gone “fetal,” and were less likely to interdict criminal behavior. That pull-back worsened in 2016, with pedestrian stops dropping 82% from January through July 20, 2016, compared with the same period in 2015, according to the Chicago police department. The cops are just “driving by people on the corners,” Mr. Angelo says, rather than checking out known drug dealers and others who raise suspicions. Criminals are back in control and black lives are being lost at a rate not seen for two decades.
Chicago’s cops are responding to political signals from the most powerful segments of society. President Obama takes every opportunity to accuse police of racially profiling blacks and Hispanics. The media, activists and academics routinely denounce pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement—such as dispersing crowds of unruly teens—as racial oppression intended to “control African-American and poor communities,” in the words of Columbia law professor Bernard Harcourt. Never mind that it is the law-abiding residents of high-crime areas who beg the police to clear their corners of loiterers and trespassers.