When more than 100 of the nation’s top law enforcement and elected officials met for a private meeting last week in Washington, there were some pointed — and controversial statements — made. . . .
In an exchange with Attorney General Loretta Lynch, [Chicago mayor Rahm] Emanuel summed up the sentiments of many politicians and police commanders in the room. He said a fear of being the next face on the 6 o’clock news had prompted officers in Chicago and across the country to become ‘fetal’ and not risk engagements with the public that could become viral video sensations.
Emanuel said cellphone footage was leaving officers to be unfairly tried in the court of public opinion before a court proceeding. The former White House chief of staff implored Lynch, the administration’s new top attorney, to back the nation’s police officers publicly before the next, inevitable cellphone video surfaces to cast aspersion on someone wearing a badge.
Emanuel’s remarks drew applause from the dozens of politicians and law enforcement officials in attendance at the Attorney General’s Summit on Violent Crime.
According to the Post, an official with Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police is miffed at Emanuel for suggesting that police are standing down. But the recent increase in homicides — more than 30 major American cities are witnessing a spike in murder rates, the New York Times reports — combined with anecdotal evidence suggests that in the wake of events in Ferguson, Baltimore, and elsewhere, police officers or entire departments have reduced their presence in high-crime areas, for fear of anti-cop violence, or for fear of becoming the next headline.
Is anyone surprised?
Of course, that a (Democratic) mayor has to explain this phenomenon to the nation’s chief law enforcement officer — and no less than plead with her to address it — is an indication that nothing is likely to change.