HUFFPOST: How White Nationalist “Know Nothing” Jeff “Gonzo Apocalypto” Sessions Tanked Needed Police Reform In Chicago Without Even BOTHERING TO READ The DOJ’s 160 Page Report!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/doj-police-reform-jeff-sessions-chicago_us_58f50a77e4b0da2ff86254cf?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000 report on HuffPost:

Ryan J. Reilly & Kim Bellware report in HuffPost:

“CHICAGO ― In the final months of the Obama administration, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division scrambled to complete its biggest-ever investigation of a city police department: a 13-month probe of Chicago’s 12,000-strong police force that wrapped up just a week before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

For more than a year, the division’s lawyers reviewed thousands of Chicago Police Department documents, visited all 22 police districts, went on 60 ride-alongs, reviewed 170 police shooting files, examined over 425 incidents of less-lethal force, interviewed 340 department members and talked to about 1,000 Chicago residents.

Their final report, issued Jan. 13, recognized the tough job officers had in Chicago as they dealt with spiking gun violence, and praised the “diligent efforts and brave actions of countless” officers. But a “breach in trust” eroded Chicago’s ability to prevent crime, because officers were able to escape accountability when they broke the law, the report found. Because “trust and effectiveness in combating violent crime are inextricably intertwined,” the report found “broad, fundamental reform” was needed in Chicago.

Without a formal legal agreement to reform — known as a consent decree — and independent monitoring, the report concluded, reform efforts in Chicago were “not likely to be successful.”

JI SUB JEONG/HUFFPOST

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, disagrees. In recent weeks, Sessions has expressed deep skepticism about the role of the federal government in fixing broken police departments, leaving serious doubts about the ultimate outcome of the Justice Department’s work in Chicago.

Sessions wants the Justice Department to serve as the “leading advocate for law enforcement in America.” While admitting he hadn’t read the full Chicago report, he called it “anecdotal” and “not so scientifically based.” Earlier this month in Baltimore, a Justice Department lawyer said Sessions had “grave concerns” about an agreement previously reached between that city and the Obama administration. A federal judge signed off on the deal over Sessions’ objections.

In an interview with a conservative radio host this month, Sessions seemed to suggest that Justice Department investigations and consent decrees were resulting in “big crime increases.” In an op-ed for USA Today last week, Sessions wrote that consent decrees could amount to “harmful federal intrusion” that could “cost more lives by handcuffing the police instead of the criminals.” There’s too much focus on “a small number of police who are bad actors,” Sessions wrote, and “too many people believe the solution is to impose consent decrees that discourage the proactive policing that keeps our cities safe.”

Chicago has a serious violent crime problem. Last year was the deadliest in the city in two decades, with 762 homicides. But supporters of police reform like Jonathan Smith, a former official in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, said that Sessions was “simply wrong” to suggest that crime goes up as a result of reform (or, in Chicago’s case, an investigation). DOJ investigations can increase community confidence in police departments and make people safer, Smith argued.

JIM YOUNG / REUTERS
A protester takes part in a weekly nighttime peace march through the streets of a South Side Chicago neighborhood on September 16, 2016.

Lorie Fridell, a criminologist and police bias expert from whom the Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force solicited information for its report released last year, said DOJ investigations not only help to usher in badly need reforms to the specific departments probed, but other departments also rely on the reports to determine if their own departments are meeting constitutional standards.

“I think it’s very unfortunate the DOJ is no longer going to prioritize police reform,” Fridell said. ”The future of police reform is therefore going to have to come from the ground up. It’s going to be important for concerned individuals to demand high-quality policing.”

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Read the complete HuffPost article at the above link. And, for those of you who would like to be better informed than AG “Gonzo Apocalypto” about the need for serious police reform in Chicago, you can read the complete DOJ Civil Rights Division report here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/file/925846/download.

Sen. Liz Warren, Sen. Cory Booker, and others who opposed Sessions’s nomination to be AG, and told the truth about his white nationalist views (which he tried to conceal/downplay during his confirmation hearing, in addition to lying under oath about his Russian contacts) were right!

PWS

04-29-17

WashPost: J. Rubin Says Trump Administration’s War On Illegal Immigration Is Bogus!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2017/04/26/the-jig-is-up-hysteria-over-illegal-immigration-is-baseless/?utm_term=.73251571b3e1Bogus!

Rubin writes in “Right Turn” in the WashPost:

“The anti-immigrant hysteria that became a mainstay of President Trump’s agenda and the hymnal of the GOP rests on the assumption that we are awash with illegal immigrants. It’s illegal immigrants who are responsible for a crime wave. (There isn’t a wave, but stick with this for a moment.) It’s illegal immigrants, they say, who are responsible for the economic suffering in the Rust Belt. (If we just got rid of them, jobs and wages would go up!) Hillary Clinton was going to continue the Obama administration’s policy: open borders!

Well, it’s all fake. There was a dramatic downturn in illegal immigrants under President Barack Obama, who deported record number of people. As many of us argued, the economic recession reversed the flow of immigrants so on net more are now leaving for Mexico than coming from there. Alex Nowrasteh of the Cato Institute observes, “President Trump can’t take credit for the unprecedented collapse in illegal immigration since 2007 but the Great Recession, growing Mexican economy, and Mexican demographics can. ”

The Pew Research Center tells us:

There were 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the U.S. in 2015, a small but statistically significant decline from the Center’s estimate of 11.3 million for 2009, the last year of the Great Recession. The Center’s preliminary estimate of the unauthorized immigrant population in 2016 is 11.3 million, which is statistically no different from the 2009 or 2015 estimates and comes from a different data source with a smaller sample size and a larger margin of error. This more recent preliminary data for 2016 are inconclusive as to whether the total unauthorized immigrant population continued to decrease, held steady or increased.

Oops. You mean getting rid of all those illegal immigrants didn’t create job openings for unemployed factory workers in the heartland or boost wages or prevent Chicago’s crime increase in the past two years? Nope. It seems the anti-immigration crowd will need to find new scapegoats to blame and new ideas for solving our systemic economic problems.

In particular, Trump’s obsession with the Mexican border appears to be entirely misplaced:

Mexicans have long been the largest origin group among unauthorized immigrants – and the majority for at least a decade – but their numbers have been shrinking since peaking at 6.9 million, or 57% of the total, in 2007. In 2014, they numbered 5.8 million (52% of the total). In 2015, according to the Center’s new estimate, they declined to 5.6 million, or 51% of the total. And in 2016, according to the Center’s preliminary estimate, the number of unauthorized immigrants from Mexico was the same, but their share fell to 50% of the total, marking the first time since at least 2005 that Mexicans did not account for a majority of the unauthorized immigrant population.

Why, then, do you suppose the Trump team is so fixated on illegal immigrants and the southern border? Well, immigration exclusionists have been ignoring readily available facts for some time. There is no illegal immigrant crime wave. The border is much more secure.

We’re hard-pressed to come up with any other explanation than the obvious one: As in France, fear and hatred of immigrants are a convenient excuse for voters and policymakers who cannot grapple with messy truths. Trump has no policy agenda to help the working and middle class, so he sells xenophobia. Get rid of illegals and you’ll all have $30-per-hour jobs! You can’t make a middle-class living as a manual laborer? blame the immigrants! Scared of terrorism and don’t want to think about the problem of radicalization of Westerners? Blame the refugees, the most thoroughly vetted immigrants there are.

It’s time to put an end to the nonsense, stop turning our cities and communities upside-down, alienating our ally Mexico over an unneeded wall, wasting money on building a wall and vilifying outsiders. Right-wingers should stop pushing the comforting fantasy to displaced workers that nothing they have done (e.g., not gone to college, not developed computer skills, stayed in locales with no jobs) and nothing they have to do (e.g., go back to school, develop new skills, move to where the jobs are) matter so long as all those illegal immigrants are “stealing” their jobs. That sort of fatalism is wrongheaded and ultimately does a huge disservice to those who need to catch up to the globalized economy. And now we now have plenty of evidence that the immigration scaremongering is fraudulent.”

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While I often disagree with Rubin, her points here seem well taken. It appears that Trump & Co’s rhetoric is driven largely by xenophobia and the belief that it wins elections.

Philip Bump in the Washington Post also pointed out that there is good reason to doubt the honesty of Trump’s attempt to link homicide rates in Chicago with undocumented migration. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/04/26/trumps-attempt-to-link-illegal-immigration-to-chicagos-homicide-problem-is-extremely-tenuous/?utm_term=.1916c1e4aa17

PWS

04-26-17