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PolitiFact: Sessions blames ACLU for Chicago murder spike

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions AP



PolitiFact staff
Friday, May 18, 2018

In remarks at a conference on May 8, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that a legal settlement that reined in Chicago police “resulted in approximately 236 additional victims killed and over 1,100 additional shootings in 2016 alone.”

Our ruling

Citing a study by University of Utah researchers, Sessions claimed that a legal settlement over police conduct between the ACLU and the city “resulted in approximately 236 additional victims killed and over 1,100 additional shootings in 2016 alone.”

Sessions misstated the ACLU’s involvement with the Chicago police department – there was no lawsuit. He did, however, correctly recite conclusions of the study.

The overriding question, then, is whether the study reaches sound conclusions. On that, there is considerable disagreement. Chicago police stops did indeed dramatically plunge in the wake of a city agreement with the ACLU to overhaul its stop-and-frisk policy. A big jump in the city’s murder rate also coincided with the end of policy’s end. Even so, New York and other big cities did not experience hikes in violence and murders after curtailing stop-and-frisk.

Other academics express serious reservations about the research methods used by the Utah study. The skeptics also point to an array of factors that may also have contributed to the murder and violence spike – not the least of which was the wrenching impact of the Laquan McDonald shooting video.

There is considerable debate about that.

There is some element of truth in the statement made by Sessions, but it also ignores critical facts that would give a different impression.

That is the boilerplate Politifact definition of Mostly False.

To read the full fact check, go to politifact.com.