CHICAGO (CBS) – The proposed Chicago police reforms are an insult to the officers who are fighting crime, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a speech here Friday.
The consent decree proposed to enforce those reforms would waste money and make a judge, in effect, Chicago’s police chief, he argued.
Sessions was in Chicago, blasting local politicians, at a speech to the Chicago Crime Commission.
“Chicago police are not the problem,” he said. “Chicago police are the solution to the problem.”
Sessions suggested Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan are the real problem for negotiating the decree.
“So the proposed decree would transfer control to two retiring politicians and a federal judge,” he said.
Sessions blasted the decree agreement itself.
“Micromanaging the Chicago Police Department by a federal court isn’t justified.
Really, it’s an insult to the department. We do not need to treat Chicago’s officers like some sort of rogue police department because of the actions of a few.”
Before Sessions took over, the Obama Justice Department launched its own investigation and strongly disagreed, finding a decades-long pattern of CPD abuse.
That probe was touched off by the outcry following release of the police video showing officer Jason Van Dyke shooting down Laquan McDonald.
Sessions rejected claims that Van Dyke’s murder conviction proves the consent decree is needed.
“To the contrary, it proves that a police officer in Chicago will be prosecuted and jailed,” he said.
However, a small group protesting Sessions’ visit see Van Dyke’s conviction differently.
“That’s proof that the masses of people standing up and exposing the atrocities of police is the most critical thing,” said protester Joe Johnson of the Revolution Club.
Sessions also blamed CPD’s agreement with the ACLU to limit street stops for Chicago’s 2016 surge in murders.
Sessions noted that Chicago’s reducing the murder count, in part, because of the 17 additional prosecutors and ATF agents he’s sent to Chicago.