Jeff Sessions

Sessions Hasn't Read the DOJ Reports on Ferguson and Chicago Police

Sessions says the reports he didn't read on unconstitutional policing were "pretty anecdotal and not so scientifically based."

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Jim LoScalzo/SIPA/Newscom

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters Monday he has not read the Justice Department's scathing reports on unconstitutional policing in Chicago and Ferguson, Missouri prepared under the Obama administration.

"I have not read those reports, frankly," Sessions said in response to a question from The Huffington Post. "We've had summaries of them, and some of it was pretty anecdotal, and not so scientifically based."

Those reports, part of an aggressive push under the Obama administration to beef up the Justice Department's oversight of local police departments, found systematic civil rights violations, unconstitutional arrests, and excessive force by police. In Baltimore, police officers performed unconstitutional stops of pedestrians while Justice Department civil rights monitors were in the car with them. In Chicago, investigators found the police department did not even track gun discharges by officers that did not hit anyone.

If Sessions would care to familiarize himself with those reports, Reason has written several thorough summaries of what Justice Department investigators found. In Ferguson, the local police force essentially treated its poor and minority residents as a revenue stream, arresting them on petty and pointless charges, soaking them in court fees and fines, and then jailing them if they couldn't afford it.

As my colleague Ed Krayewski wrote: "The DOJ found significant racial disparities in arrests, citations, and other police action, but its findings about the pattern and practice of Constitutional violations by the FPD pointed to fundamental problems with the policing, and not just its racially-disparate application. Namely, the DOJ found systemic abuses of the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Ferguson residents by the police department, through unconstitutional stops, the use of excessive force, and treating protected conduct, like recording police or complaining about police conduct."

And in Chicago, Justice Department investigators found the department regularly failed to investigate potential witnesses of police misconduct, or in some cases intimidated and threatened witnesses who tried to come forward.

Nevertheless, Sessions has been a staunch defender of police amid calls for greater public accountability and reform following a string of high-profile shootings of unarmed black men over the past several years. "Sometimes local police departments really step up and do a great job and it's almost disrespectful of them for the feds to go in and try to take it over," Sessions said, according to Politico

Of course, it's also disrespectful and illegal for police to violate someone's constitutional rights, and even "anecdotal" violations matter quite a bit to the person whose rights are being violated.

The civil rights probes by the Justice Department laid the groundwork for a number of consent decrees between police departments, but Sessions said he hadn't made a decision on whether the Justice Department would pursue a similar agreement with Chicago.

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  1. In Chicago, investigators found the police department did not even track gun discharges by officers that did not hit anyone.

    There’s probably a clause in the union contract about not hurting the cops’ accuracy rating.

    1. Plus only tracking the hits allows them to do things like this without worrying about any consequences (not that there would be any anyway).

  2. And Sessions struck me as a pretty openminded, thoughtful individual in his pursuit of justice.

    1. troll lollolo lalololo troll 😀

    1. And most serious.

  3. “the local police force essentially treated its poor and minority residents as a revenue stream, arresting them on petty and pointless charges, soaking them in court fees and fines, and then jailing them if they couldn’t afford it.”

    Unfortunately, that is true in most if not all major cities. Of course a great driver of this is the WOD. Cops profile people based on how likely they “believe” it is that they might have drugs and then come up with some bullshit reason to stop them. This profiling includes but is not limited to race. The more powerless you look, the less the cops are going to worry about any repercussions for their actions. Obviously, the disportionate number of blacks in high crime, high drug traffic areas increases their risk of being targeted.

    1. So, the cops are told: “We need more money into the coffers. Go out and arrest a bunch of people, who will probably need to have the taxpayers supply an attorney, if it goes to court. Don’t forget to cite people, who can’t afford to pay a fine if it only goes that far, and we’ll throw them in jail, at our expense, if they don’t.”
      Does the logic-fail of such a policy make you wonder if that is, really what is happening?
      Sure it is, because everyone in the criminal justice system, from the cop on the beat, through the prosecutors, the judges and the juries are all just a pack of racists and dying to see “people of color” behind bars.
      Try a little of what this site’s name is.

  4. Sessions is a total dick and there is no way he can be counted on to go after bad departments. Ferguson is 2/3 black so they can vote people out if they want. Even in Chicago blacks and hispanics make up the majority. They have to get pissed enough to do sometging about it. Although given the murder rate in Chicago, I think they have a bigger problem than aggressive policing.

  5. Christ, what an asshole.

    I knew Sessions would be a shit show as AG, but god damn!

  6. Sessions Hasn’t Read the DOJ Reports on Ferguson and Chicago Police

    Look. When Sessions wants to talk about what the reports say, he will eat the reports and then shit them directly onto your face, okay?

  7. Sessions is definitely the darkest spot of the Trump administration. Can’t think of a worse appointment.

  8. He’s waiting for the movie.

  9. I’m gonna go ahead and Godwin this thread.

    1. I hate Illinois Nazis

  10. Why, oh why, Rand?

    (And no, his answer doesn’t hold water in my book)

    1. It was worth it, now that the Republicans were able to focus instead on scrapping the ACA! Wait, what?

  11. How does Sessions feel about Trump’s anecdotal evidence that there’s a crime wave and a war on cops going on?

    1. There’s not a war on policemen now that Trump and Sessions are in their positions. When we had the great rabble-rouser-in-chief constantly putting down law enforcement and his crooked side kicks Holder and Lynch emboldening angry thugs to shoot policeman, we had a war.

      1. I’m gonna give you the benefit of the doubt and say this is sarcasm.

  12. The garden gnome is on the loose. Just some good advice to Trump. I hear that a ‘populist’ president is what you’re trying to be. I don’t know, but going after legal weed and doubling down on police brutality is not going to be very popular. Just sayin.

  13. And to think, the left attacked DeVos for weeks knowing they would fail, and all they did with Sessions was a half-hearted “he’s racist!” rather than a critical examination of his awful opinions. Sad!

    1. Why, it’s almost as if Democrats are just as fond of authoritarianism as Sessions!

    2. Maybe they’re from the give’em enough rope school of political science.

      1. Remember, we’re talking here about people whose defense of Hillary’s server snafu was primarily along the lines of “she’s not shady, she’s just old and incompetent!”

    3. DeVos had no union support. Sessions has robust union support.

      1. Well, she had robust union anti-support. Thus, the big effort to stop her by the Dems.

    4. From most of the reports I have seen, Sessions is a swell guy. Everybody in Congress liked him and he was their friend. And after all, that’s all that matters. Your personality should be the determining factor, not your ability to the job. There was even at least one D to cross the aisle and vote for him.

  14. Sessions is terrible. The worst thing Trump has done in his entire life was appoint this guy as AG.

    1. Unauthorized pussy-grabbing is bad, but the Sessions appointment is far worse. Now, millions of people are going to get fucked.

      1. I don’t recall any pussy grabs that were unauthorized for the record.

    2. And we’re talking about a guy being blackmailed by the Russians.

      1. Hi Tony!

  15. The lefties put all their eggs in the De Vos basket, while ignoring this peach. Fuckin’ pub sec unions.

    1. You are seriously blaming liberals for this. It’s fucking pathological.

      1. Shut your racist, elitist pie hole. Oh, and bone up on your reading comprehension.

        (I thought I had this one on block. Sigh.)

  16. I’m holding my criticism of him until he burns some children – or some other atrocity.
    Which will probably be soon.

    1. Sessions likes his children like Trump likes his steaks…well done and with ketchup.

      1. Hunt’s, not Heinz.

  17. More evidence that confirmation hearings are basically worthless.

  18. There’s a lot of that same “disparity” in perpetrator colors. Oddly enough they match the crime disparity. Why don’t you folks quit making color judgments (for a change) and consider the problem in the context of cause and effects. The criminals are not any particular color or class, the commonality is welfare use and its mindset; that one is a victim, therefore entitled to help themselves to whatever they want, from whoever has it, politically or in person.

  19. I wouldn’t worry too much about the Obama DOJ’s reports on anything. After all, they prefaced their report on sexual assaults on campus with an feminist orgs fake statistics while burying their own statistics on the second page. The left plays these games with definitions all the time and its definitions of unconstitutional could run the gamut from unjustified shooting to high-fiving a gang member too hard.

    1. Are you claiming that actually nothing bad happened in Ferguson, and Reason just made it all up? Or are you actually so angry about the sex assault report that you’re willing to overlook unconstitutional police behavior, just to give the DoJ a black eye?

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  21. As my colleague Ed Krayewski wrote: “The DOJ found significant racial disparities in arrests, citations, and other police action, but its findings about the pattern and practice of Constitutional violations by the FPD pointed to fundamental problems with the policing, and not just its racially-disparate application. ???? ?????? ?? ??
    ???? ?? 10 ?? ????? Namely, the DOJ found systemic abuses of the First and Fourth Amendment rights of Ferguson residents by the police department, through unconstitutional stops, the use of excessive force, and treating protected conduct, like recording police or complaining about police conduct.”

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