Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday revealed that the Justice Department would be giving Chicago law enforcement additional resources to help combat crime and also filed a brief in opposition to a proposal to reform city policing practices.
In large cities like Chicago, the duty to maintain “public safety, security and order” generally falls upon their police departments, Sessions said in a news release from the Justice Department.
“There is one government institution, and one alone, that has the ability to make Chicago safer – that is the Chicago Police Department,” Sessions said. “Our goal should be to empower it to fulfill its duties, not to restrict its proper functioning or excessively demean the entire department for the errors of a few. Make no mistake: Unjustified restrictions on proper policing and disrespect for our officers directly led to this tragic murder surge in Chicago.”
"There is one government institution, and one alone, that has the ability to make Chicago safer – that is the Chicago Police Department. Our goal should be to empower it to fulfill its duties, not to restrict its proper functioning ... "
The DOJ announced earlier this week that it would oppose the proposed consent decree on Chicago police, which has been brought before a federal judge for consideration.
The announcement followed remarks by President Trump in which he supported using the “stop-and-frisk” police method as a means of fighting the crime in the city. In 2015, the city reached an agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois to curb the practice.
The president, speaking in Orlando, Fla., to a convention of the International Associated of Chiefs of Police, said he requested that Sessions “immediately” go to Chicago “to help straighten out the terrible shooting wave.”
As part of Trump’s request to step in, “five additional violent crime prosecutors” will report to the crime-stricken city and will help John Lausch, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, launch a Gun Crimes Prosecution Team, the DOJ news release said.
“Working with state and local law enforcement, this new unit will help ensure that Chicago’s most dangerous criminals are charged quickly after arrest and prosecuted, disrupting the cycle of violence in the neighborhoods most in need,” the news release said.
Five violent crime coordinators (VCCs) will also join Lausch’s Project Safe Neighborhoods team, the DOJ said.
“These experienced VCCs will join the existing ATF VCC in Chicago in the daily review of firearm arrests and seizures in the city to ensure the most violent firearm offenders are promptly and effectively prosecuted in federal court,” the news release said. ("ATF" refers to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.)
The DOJ on Friday filed a statement of interest in a lawsuit between Chicago and the state of Illinois, in which the latter sued in August 2017 over the alleged “use of excessive force and racially biased policing,” the news release said.
In September 2018, the two parties entered the consent decree proposal to the District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for consideration, the news release said. However the DOJ, in its statement, said it doesn't believe that this agreement, or any other, is necessary.
“The Statement of Interest ‘asks the court not to enter the Proposed Consent Decree but, rather, to allow state and local officials – and Chicago’s brave front-line police officers – to engage in flexible and localized efforts to advance the goal of safe, effective, and constitutional policing in Chicago,” the news release said.
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.