It does so again in a Sept. 21 article by Melanie Arter recounting a speech given by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he "blamed the spike in murders in Chicago on the Obama administration’s consent decree, which called for police reforms in response to police harassment and brutality claims." Arter uncritically recounted how "Sessions explained that the consent decree resulted in more violent crime, the victims of which were mostly African-American and Latino. It also required police officers to fill out lengthy paperwork and submit it to the American Civil Liberties Union, a former judge, and a public database for everyone they stopped" and copy-and-pasted rrom his speech:
John’s predecessor as United States Attorney, Zachary Fardon, said in an open letter to the City that the ACLU agreement “[told] cops if you go talk to those kids on the corner, you’re going to have to take 40 minutes to fill out a form, and you’re going to have to give them a receipt with your badge number on it. And he noted that as a result, by January 2016, ‘the city was on fire’ because ‘the rule of law, law enforcement, had been delegitimized.
But Fardon responded in an op-ed that Sessions selectively quoted from his open letter and ignored other reasons than the consent decree that Chicago crime was on the upswing:
Last year, when I resigned as U.S. attorney in Chicago, I issued an open letter in which I cited the ACLU deal as a contributor to the drag on officer stops in 2016. I named other extraordinary events, including the release of the Laquan McDonald video, the firing of CPD’s police chief and the launch of a DOJ civil rights investigation of CPD, all of which occurred in the last six weeks of 2015, as contributors as well.
Last month, in a speech in Palatine, Ill., Sessions quoted from my letter, which he called “honest and important.” He referenced only the ACLU portion of the letter and used that to support his theme that such agreements hamper police and inflame violence.
If Sessions had read the rest of my letter, he would know that my No. 1 recommendation to curb violent crime in Chicago was that we get a broad federal consent decree for CPD — one that goes well beyond addressing “stop and frisk” and guarantees Chicago police officers the training, supervision, equipment and support they need to succeed.
Law enforcement is not the entire solution, but it’s a big part. A consent decree will give our cops support, training and the credibility they need to engage in effective and constitutional policing. A consent decree will give our South and West side citizens greater trust in our officers and institutions, and greater safety in their neighborhoods.
If Sessions spent more time in violence-afflicted neighborhoods, he would know that we still have kids who are growing up more afraid of police than of gangs. When that changes, we mark the beginning of a new Chicago. Sessions is wrong about the CPD consent decree. Those who know and love this great city must hold true.
Arter also uncritically copy-and-pasted from Sessions' speech: "One of the most tragic examples is Baltimore. After the death of Freddie Gray, violence and riots followed. City leadership signed a consent decree with the ACLU. The results were the same as in Chicago." In fact, the Baltimore consent decree did not involve the ACLU, and it was approved two months after Sessions was confirmed as attorney general.
Sessions also insisted that "rape more than tripled" in Baltimore after the consent decree. In fact, while reported rapes increased, they did not triple, and at least some of the increase can be attributed to the FBI changing the definition of rape to be more expansive.
Once again, Arter has published false and misleading information out of either laziness or a desire to suck up to the Trump administration. Not a good look for a "news" operation.