As Chicago’s murder rate continues to rise, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is laying blame on what he sees as the alarming effects of high-profile protests against police brutality and officers’ fear of cell phone videos of their actions going viral. Coined the “YouTube Effect,” Chicago radio station WBBM reported that Emanuel said police were afraid of being recorded and were therefore unable to perform their duties out of fear that they could be the next name in the news broadcasts. He added that officers’ fears of being caught were at least partly to blame for Chicago’s recent rise in crime.
“We have allowed our police department to get fetal and it is having a direct consequence,” Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch at a private meeting of more than 100 of the nation’s top law enforcement officers and politicians, according to the Washington Post. “They have pulled back from the ability to interdict … they don’t want to be a news story themselves, they don’t want their career ended early, and it’s having an impact.”
His assessment was met with swift criticism on both sides of the police brutality issue.
“They (police officers) don’t stop policing,” said Dean Angelo, president of Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police. “They’re a very resilient group, [and] they’re out there working their buns off, and looking for a fair shake.”
Ninth Ward Ald. Anthony Beale said the mayor’s comments back up what black aldermen have said — that police aren’t doing their job.
In Chicago, there might be no better example of “cell phone justice” than the recent agreement by the American Civil Liberties Union and Chicago Police Department regarding monitoring how officers go about conducting street stops. This landmark agreement might never have come to fruition if not for an unjust stop and frisk incident caught on camera on the city’s South Side resulting in a class-action lawsuit brought forth by Romanucci and Blandin.
As a law firm dedicated to seeking justice for our clients, we are grateful to those that document injustices in a lawful manner. We are also appreciative of citizens that capture the heroic acts that occur daily by our men and women in blue. Each play a valuable role in ensuring truth rules the day, good deeds are recognized and all are held accountable for their actions.