By Steve Pomper
Why doesn’t this surprise me? People lament the violence in cities that have been under one-party political rule for decades. But voters keep electing people who not only fail to make things better but also make things worse.
Take Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for example. Voters elected another cookie-cutter, anti-law and order politician, and the violence that was bad before she took office may be getting worse. But, of course it’s not her fault or the fault of bad policies. No. The fault belongs to—you guessed it—the police. Who didn’t see that one coming? No cop, that’s for sure.
But the mayor projects an image as a police reformer, having led Rahm Emanuel’s police reform task force. The problem is she, like so many politicians in this mold, is more of a police transformer than reformer. Just remember President Obama’s declaring “We were five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Police “reform” is a part of that toxic doctrine.
People like her simply don’t like the way police work is done—when it’s done correctly, according to equal justice not social justice. These folks prefer to criticize the city’s cops than help explain to the public why an officer had to act in a certain way. Nope, if a police action goes wrong, meaning it didn’t look good (what use of force ever does?) on camera, it’s the officer who did something wrong—never the bad guys.
Now, here she comes blaming the police for an uptick in criminals committing violence with guns. She wants the cops to be more “proactive.” Why should they do anything special for her? According to the Chicago Tribune, “In a campaign ad, Lightfoot says she ‘held police accountable’ as the head of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s reform task force, which suggested sweeping changes and called out the Chicago Police Department for discrimination. She also fired cops accused of misconduct in her role as Police Board president.”
According to reporting in Law Enforcement Today (LET), Mayor Lightfoot said, “This weekend’s crime numbers, where we saw so many homicides, and we saw a lot of shootings, were incredibly distressing to me. I’m not going to shy away from that. I had a lot of very difficult conversations with CPD [Police] leadership over the course of the weekend, Monday and yesterday, and I’ve challenged them that they have to be proactive.”
Excuse me? Proactive? You mean like, oh, I don’t know… like stop and frisk? Something cops have routinely known as a Terry Stop, which some pandering politicians have fooled the public into thinking is illegal. So, since they haven’t tried to change the law, they change policy and then just ban by policy cops from doing something legal.
In fact, the Chicago Sun Times, in a biased editorial board piece commented, “For years, Chicago police stopped young African American men on the sidewalk and frisked them, pretty much for nothing.”
And what happens when Chicago’s cops are proactive, and someone complains? Then, it’s the police officer’s fault. The criminals who complain are routinely taken seriously while the officers are regularly second-guessed and get no benefit of the doubt. Where’s the upside for officers to be proactive when leadership won’t back them if some high-profile incident occurs? For cops these days, it’s not about doing something objectively wrong; it’s about politicians and community groups declaring what you did is subjectively wrong.
After Chicago’s deadliest weekend of the year, Mayor Lightfoot called in the city’s 25 district commanders for a “weekly accountability meeting.” Reportedly, it’s the first time she’s done that. She told the commanders to “use the tools… available… including community partners.” Community partners? There’s a place for that in the grand scheme but, come on, not when you want to stop shootings today. Quit with the buzz words that only click with other virtue signalers.
Her Honor is calling for police to “rise to the occasion.” However, Chicago continues to have what LET describes as “a revolving door criminal justice system.” Politicians keep calling for more gun laws, but, and this is not just a gun rights talking point, they don’t enforce the laws already on the books.
It’s actually remarkable. Complaining about criminal violence with guns, calling for an ever-increasing number of new gun laws, while refusing to enforce the gun laws that exist. Why? Oddly, they’re referred to as racist laws because minorities are predominately arrested for violating them. But that’s a cultural and sociological discussion. The cops just arrest people who break the law and hope the rest of the criminal justice system will do its job. But it so often doesn’t.
If Mayor Lightfoot wants her cops to be proactive, then she’s going to have to change her views on law enforcement from social justice to equal justice. Sorry, folks. That just ain’t likely to happen anytime soon. She’ll probably continue her “police reform/transform” policies and continue tossing the cops under the proverbial bus after a particularly bloody weekend because it’s politically expedient. It’s just so damned easy these days to blame the cops.