Jeff Sessions Blames Black Lives Matter For Chicago Gun Violence

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Written by Ann Brown

Unfortunately, it is not unusual to hear about gun violence in the city of Chicago. And most observers cite several different reasons for the high rate of murder there. Now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is weighing in and he’s blaming the ACLU, and activist organizations like Black Lives Matter for violent deaths in Chi-Town.

During a recent gathering of state and local law enforcement officials in Illinois, Sessions said that “if you want more shootings, more death, then listen to the ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter, and groups who do not know the reality of policing.”

Sessions was citing a much-disputed 2018 study by two researchers at the University of Utah.

“The professors found that the increased crime cost a staggering $1.5 billion and noted that 78 percent of its victims were African-American and 16 percent were Latino,” Sessions said. “Ninety-four percent of the victims were minorities.”

Professors called this “the ACLU effect,” Sessions said, in which policing dropped and crime rose.

This isn’t the first time Sessions has blamed Chicago’s violence on the ACLU. He has made reference in the past to a consent decree entered into by the ACLU and the Chicago Police Department, which went into effect in 2016, that required increased review of the department’s stop-and-frisk policy, CNBC reported.

Jess Sessions
Attorney General Jeff Sessions listens as Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen speaks during a news conference in Baltimore, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017, to announce efforts to combat the MS-13 street gang with law enforcement and immigration actions. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This claim by Session was proven wrong.

“The Washington Post Fact Checker at the time rated the claim mostly false, noting that after agreements similar to the ACLU consent decree were reached in other cities–the Post cites Newark, New Jersey; Philadelphia, and Seattle–homicide rates actually fell in subsequent years,” CNBC reported.

“Yet again, this administration encourages unlawful behavior and strong-arm tactics, instead of supporting commitments by local police to do the hard work of building respect and relationships with the communities they serve,” Karen Sheley, ACLU of Illinois’s Police Practices Project director wrote. “Attorney General Sessions essentially argues that police officers are too scared to do their jobs if they have oversight. This claim insults officers and downplays the harms of unlawful policing,” Sheley added.

The Black Lives Matter movement started organically in 2013 with the use of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter on social media after the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of African-American teen Trayvon Martin in February 2012. It later became an official international activist movement to work campaigns against violence and systemic racism towards Black people. BLM speaks out against police killings of Black people as well as issues such as racial profiling, police brutality, and racial inequality in the U.S. criminal justice system.

There was no response from the Department of Justice on Sessions’ remarks.